The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is considering adopting some measures to maximise tourism revenue, including extending visitors’ visas, as this year’s earning is likely to be lower than targeted.

TAT Governor Thawatchai Aranyik estimated that Thailand’s income from tourism this year will miss its 2.2-trillion-baht(US$69 billion) target and total around 1.9 trillion baht, divided into 705 billion baht from foreigners and 1.2 trillion baht from locals. At the same time, the number of foreign visitors could be about 25.5 million, a drop of 3.34 percent compared to the goal of 28 million.

The TAT is preparing to propose a range of tourism stimulus measures to the Tourism Ministry for consideration. One of the measures is the doubling of stay for tourist visa holders which would, for example, allow European tourists to remain in the Kingdom for as long as 60 days, as opposed to the current 30-day limit.

The TAT will also seek to maintain the visa fee waiver for Chinese and Taiwanese passport holders for a little longer. Thawatchai pointed out that Thailand needs to step up its game after many countries, especially Japan, have already exempted visa fees for visitors, leading to fiercer competition.

The TAT Governor added that Thailand’s newest tourism campaign promoting the Thai ways of living will be introduced at the World Travel Mart 2014 in London, England this November while its official domestic launch is scheduled in January next year. The campaign is expected to help bring the country closer to its tourism revenue target of 2.2 trillion baht a year.

Photo Credit: Chinese tourists pose for photograph at the main entrance to Chiang Mai university in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. Apichart Weerawong / Associated Press