Visa on arrival fees lifted for 21 countries for 2 months
The Thai government lifted fees on visas on arrival for 21 countries for December and January in a bid to attract more tourists. The 21 countries are China, Taiwan, India, Maldives, Bhutan, Saudi Arabia, Andorra, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, and Ukraine. The government has already set up special lanes for Chinese nationals at Immigration in a bid to boost Chinese arrivals that slumped after the Phuket boat disaster in July.
Terminal 2 at U-Tapao International Airport near Pattaya will be opened fully in February, it has been opened partially for inbound international passengers and domestic flights but more toilets will be added and the outbound immigration booths will be completed. Bidding will be opened for commercial management so that shops and restaurants can begin construction and installation. The second terminal building, which is about 80 per cent complete, covers 22,000 square meters and can accommodate 3 million passengers a year but could accommodate up to 5 million passengers a year with effective management. Overall 2 million passengers used the airport last year and the number could climb to 2.5 million this year.
Phuket budgeting 40 million baht to improve beach safety on 12 popular beaches. Karon beach will be receiving 11 million baht to buy six rescue boats and hire 35 lifeguards, Rawai beach will be hiring 15 lifeguards and 7 lifeguards will be stationed at Nai Yang and 5 at Nai Thon beaches. There will be 15 lifeguards posted to Surin and Bang Tao beaches, 12 at Kamala, eight at Mai Khao and 26 lifeguards for Patong beach. Last month the Marine Department assigned 26 more officers to perform safety checks on all boats, passengers, and pilots before taking tourists off-shore. Regular checks of equipment are being held to ensure each boat has enough safety devices and all boats must register the boat’s name, specifications, tour destination, and exact number of passengers before each departure. Passengers are being asked to supply identification information and destinations.