Tourist And Tourist Visas
Most tourists that come to Thailand come on a Tourist Visa, which is good for 30 days in the Kingdom of Thailand. Before the 30 days are up, the tourists have the option to leave the country, get their passport stamped in a different country and return
to Thailand for another additional 30 days (then repeat the process over and over and over). Let's use Singapore for an example.
A tourist can come to Thailand for 29 days and on the 30th day the tourist would spend US $250 and buy a round trip plane ticket to Singapore via Singapore Airlines. The tourist would depart Bangkok at 7:50 AM and arrive in Singapore at 11:00 AM. The tourist could do a little shopping in the airport terminal, maybe spending a couple of hundred dollars on some new electronic gadgets they saw, drop $15 to $20 on lunch and then catch the 12:50 PM flight to Bangkok, arriving at the Bangkok International Airport at 2:30 PM.
So the tourist spent a grand total of about 7 hours outside of Thailand, spending maybe US $500+ (doing this 12 times a year would be $6,000) before returning to Thailand, all the while complaining under their breath that they had to waste a whole day to travel outside of Thailand to do this.
Why doesn't Thailand offer an option for those tourists that want to do this month after month after month? Any tourist (I think) would be happy as a clam to pay the US $250 here in Thailand, stay here in Bangkok and get their VISA extended for another 30 days, without wasting a whole day flying to Singapore and back. Imagine how much money western tourists spend in Thailand on a monthly basis? It does not make any financial sense to send them out of the country for one day or less only and to have the tourist spend that $250 outside of Thailand with a company like Singapore Airlines.
What could Thailand do will the entire extra fee's they collected ($250 at a time) for all the tourists that would chose this option versus going out of the country? Well we could write a whole book on the good that money could do in a country like Thailand. Thailand is a tourism driven country and the government should recognize there is big business in provided services that make the repeat and long term tourists happy. Airlines facts are stating in the next five years, the passenger traffic to Thailand will increase five-fold and that the new airport in Bangkok will be one of the busiest airports in all of Asia. So it makes allot of financial sense to investigate ways to keep any additional revenue being spent outside of Thailand, inside of Thailand.
Of course you could rebut this fact and say maybe Thai Airlines is getting rich selling more tickets every 30 days, but I think in most cases, flying There are also ways to get extended visas for 90 days at a time we well, but being in the airport everyday, one can see the flock of tourists on their way out of Thailand for the day and then returning. (No baggage, maybe a shoulder bag is all they carry).
It would be an interesting study to find out just how many tourists (in one month), leave Thailand for the day and return. Any estimates on how many people this may be? Even if only 100 people a day left Thailand, times $250 each, would be US $25,000 a day and in one month that would be US $750,000.Once again, the tourist that come here and stay month after month would fuelthe demand for this type of service and no one I am aware of is happy having to spend a whole day flying just to get a passport stamped for their return 30 days.
The other issue is Visa’s as well. Singapore is a good example because you do not need a VISA going there from Thailand. While other locations like Laos and Vietnam may be closer and cheaper to fly to, the time and hassle it would take to get a VISA is probably not worth the extra cost and effort, compared to simply getting on a plane and flying to Singapore, which is a relatively safe, short two hour flight on a world re-known and respected airlines.
Many tourists may not stay past 30 days and many westerners have madeThailand their home and now live/work here fulltime. However, there is still evidence that there is a huge amount of foreigners here that stay longerthan the 30 days and use what ever loopholes they can find to make VISA extensions a simple process.
The other day I went with a friend to the airport Immigration office because he wanted to get his tourist VISA extended there. We were told it could not be done at the airport, and that we needed to go downtown to the mainImmigration Office. So we jumped in a taxi and off we went to the main immigration office downtown. Once inside a charming lady that worked for the immigration office informed him that he could only extend the VISA for 10 days. The cost for this 10 day extension was 1900 baht, plus he would have to fill out a form and go across the street to have some photos taken which cost another 150 baht. Add in a taxi ride from the Airport for close to 200 baht and the return trip for 200 baht and the total cost for a 10 day extension as 2450 baht? I have no idea why he decided to do this?
At the main immigration office, it took about an hour to go through the queue to submit his passport and after that another 45 minutes before the passport was ready to be picked up. All in the all, the main immigration office runs about as efficient as possible with all the people traffic they get every day.
As a side note, overstay fees for tourist Visa’s have changed since March 2006 as follows:
1. First day over-stay NO FEE
2. Second day over-stay 1000 baht fee
3. Each additional day over-stay 500 baht fee
Now some may say this is not too bad, however, if you are ever arrested or stopped by the police and your VISA is expired, it could mean some real trouble in the police push it.
Granted none of these numbers are scientific and this whole post is hypothetical in nature and there are other options besides flying to Singapore that are available. But I will state on today’s 12:50 PM flight from Singapore to Bangkok, the Boeing B747 was completely full, meaning 350+ passengers arrived in Thailand from Singapore on this one flight so this whole concept can not be too far fetched.