On Sunday, China and Thailand inked a mutual visa exemption agreement set to come into effect on March 1 of this year. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who attended the signing ceremony in Bangkok alongside his Thai counterpart Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, highlighted that the agreement is poised to not only boost tourism in Thailand and benefit Chinese visitors but also foster greater mutual understanding between the two nations.
Thailand had previously granted a temporary visa waiver for Chinese visitors, scheduled to conclude on February 29, 2024. The Southeast Asian nation now aims to attract 8 million tourists from China in 2024, marking a significant 75 percent recovery compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019 when 11.1 million Chinese tourists visited.
Wang Yi’s visit to Thailand, spanning from January 26 to 29, includes a series of engagements. In addition to the visa exemption agreement, he held meetings with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Bangkok on Friday and Saturday.
China has established mutual visa exemption agreements covering various passport types with 157 countries, and simplified visa procedures agreements with 44 countries. Comprehensive mutual visa exemption is in place with 22 countries, including Singapore, the Maldives, and Kazakhstan. Currently, over 60 countries and regions offer Chinese citizens visa-free access or visas on arrival, enhancing the travel convenience for Chinese nationals.