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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawDoes COVID Mark the End of the "Cheap" Thailand Travel Era?

Does COVID Mark the End of the "Cheap" Thailand Travel Era?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing COVID-19 and tourism in Thailand. This is kind of more of an editorial, just sort of some observations that I have been coming to kind of pondering all this as we are doing the research and things necessary to make these videos as well as working here in the firm to get things sorted for our clients. 

There was a time and it has certainly been the past 20 years or at least since roughly '97 when Thailand sort of had economic issues that Thailand has always been considered a sort of a "cheaper budget" destination. It is not overly expensive to travel to Thailand. I do not think Thailand is going to become expensive domestically. I think that the relatively reasonably priced things we deal with in sort of day-to-day life here in Thailand are probably going to remain the same but the notion that it will be sort of "cheap" moving forward or “cheap” as it was in times past coming into Thailand, I don't think that that is a particularly realistic presumption to make. Based on what I am looking at going into 2021 looking further ahead into 2022, yes I think the situation will normalize. I think that we will start seeing tourism again but the era of everything being you know "rock bottom" prices and more importantly the competitiveness of pricing resulting in just these really great deals for foreign tourists and again not deals, I think hotels there is going to come a moment and I think it is coming sooner rather than later when the deals on hotels and even airfare are going to be really good.

What I am talking about is not necessarily tourism; I should really be clear on this. I am talking about the folks that either spend a prolonged amount of time, they are a tourist in a sense, but they spend 3-6 months a year in Thailand or folks that come to Thailand and there were a lot of these folks in earlier years, especially prior to what I call the "Big Joke era" within Thai Immigration when they started having all these crackdowns where folks would just come in and just hang around Thailand for a prolonged period of time and it was cheap to do that. It was possible to do that on a fairly long-term basis. I just don't see that being feasible the way that it was, into the foreseeable future.

Yes it is clear, Thailand is trying to take steps to provide prolonged visas for folks who want to come back in but it looks like they are exclusively doing this in a tourism context and as I get into in other videos I have made contemporaneously with this one, the Tourist Visa is useful for exactly what it is but conversion of that visa to a long-term visa in Thailand is not overly easy and in fact it is heavily discouraged by Thai Immigration.  It is rather difficult. They prefer folks if they want to change visa status to leave the country, seek a new visa and return. 

So what I am trying to say is while tourism may be coming back, the “cheap” Thailand to live in, to just hang out in for long periods of time or you know I know folks that you know got lost here in Thailand and kind of wandered out a few years later, that era I don't know if that is going to be feasible in the immediate I would say 18 months following the COVID era especially as airfares and things, yeah there may come a day when it may sort of snap back price wise to what it was, but I think it is farther away in terms of time than most folks are going to want to look at in terms of planning from the time of this video.