Qatari nationals and other tourists who want to spend their summer vacation in Thailand will be exempt from tourist visa fees until March 4 next year, the Thai Embassy in Qatar announced yesterday.
Suvat Chiparant, Thai Ambassador to Qatar, said all foreigners who apply for tourist visa and medical treatment visa will be exempted from the fees. The exemption also applies to tourists entitled to visa upon arrival at designated airports in Thailand.
The visa fee exemption, effective from yesterday, can be granted by any Thai embassy or consular office worldwide, Chiparant said.
Thailand has been a favourite summer tourist destination not because of its world-class beach resorts but also for medical treatment because of its state-of-the-art yet affordable hospitals and clinics and specialist physicians.
Somwang Khruasuwan, spokesman at the Thai Embassy in Qatar, said some 10,000 patients from the Middle East, many of them from Qatar, visit Thailand for medical treatment, especially during the summer, each year.
Chiparant said there had been a notable increase of about 20 percent in the number of tourists who visited their country last year, from the previous year, prompting airlines to increase their services from two daily flights to three daily flights this summer.
Khruasuwan said Thailand had already established itself as one of the international medical tourism destination countries. “Thailand is one of the preferred destinations for all types of treatment, including medical, cosmetic and dental procedures,” said Khruasuwan.
“Most of the tourists who visited Thailand for medication stayed there for more than a month, since they have no worries because the facilities and commodities are cheap,” Chiparant said.
Thousands of tourists also visited Bangkok, Phuket and other neighbouring Thai cities for shopping and vacationing at world-class beaches, especially in the seaside city of Pattaya, which has one of the most famous beaches in Thailand.