Thailand is the latest country to sign a mutual visa exemption agreement with China, one that will come into effect from 1 March, multiple media outlets report. The new policy comes in time for Thailand’s major Songkran festival in April.
Macao and Hong Kong already have such policies with Thailand, allowing Thai nationals visa-free visits of up to 30 days.
China’s new policy means Thais will be able to add trips to the Chinese mainland onto their travels to the two SARs – and vice versa – potentially boosting tourism numbers in Macao.
After a signing ceremony in Bangkok on Sunday, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi encouraged Thais to visit China. He also noted that there “will be a big increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand.”
Those numbers did not reach anywhere near pre-pandemic levels in 2023, however. Last year saw just 3.5 million Chinese visit the Southeast Asian country, down from 11 million in 2019, when Chinese travellers made up a quarter of Thailand’s tourists.
Days before its agreement with Thailand, China signed a mutual visa-free agreement with Singapore that comes into effect on 9 February.