Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tourism

Thailand Now Grants Visa-Free Entry to Indians

4 months ago

After much speculation, Thailand finally announced on Tuesday that it would grant visa-free entry to Indian citizens from November 10 till May 2024.

Indians will be allowed to stay in the country for a maximum period of 30 days as part of this arrangement.

Last week, Sri Lanka announced that Indian travelers would not require a visa to enter the country till March 31, 2024.

As Thailand gears up for peak tourism season, the country wants to make sure that securing a visa is not an impediment for travelers in one of its top source markets.

Thailand had scrapped visa requirements for Chinese tourists in September. Along with India, Thailand will also be allowing visa-free entry for Taiwan nationals.

According to the latest government data, Thailand welcomed 22 million visitors to the country from January to October 29, generating $26 billion in revenue. The country is targeting to welcome 28 million arrivals this year.

In March, Thailand revised its initial estimate of 1.4 million Indian arrivals to 2 million.

In 2022, India claimed the second spot as the leading source of tourists for Thailand, right after Malaysia. Over a million Indians visited Thailand that year.

Back in 2019, nearly 2 million Indian tourists flocked to Thailand, solidifying their position as the third-largest group of foreign nationals to explore the country.

The delay in visa processing has often been cited as a major deterrent for Indian travelers.

Skift’s earlier articles have explored how Indian travelers are now opting for destinations that don’t require them to navigate the maze of visa applications. 

Tourism

Indians May Have to Wait Till 2024 to Secure U.S. Visa Appointments

1 year ago

Indians wanting to visit the U.S., may have a long wait ahead of them as appointment slots for visas are not available anytime sooner than 2024. You heard that right — almost a two-year wait for visa appointments!

A backlog of visa applications at the U.S. embassy coupled with consular staffing gaps created by the pandemic have led to the increased waiting time.

Skift accessed the website of the U.S. State Department on Thursday and discovered that the average wait time for visa appointments for a tourist visa was around 1.5 years across all five consulates in India.

At the consulate’s New Delhi and Hyderabad offices the waiting time for a tourist visa appointent was more than 600 days while the wait for a student visa appointment was 458 days for both cities.

In Mumbai and Kolkata the visitor visa waiting period is a little under 600 days, while the waiting period would be more than 450 days for those seeking student visa appontment from these cities.

The tourist visa appointment wait was the shortest in Chennai — 491 days, while for student visa applicants the wait time was 465 days.

And if that wasn’t enough the website went on to note that while the estimated wait time for an interview appointment can change weekly, the estimates do not guarantee the availability of an appointment.

An earlier Skift interview had noted how the time being taken to process visas is creating a problem for travel agents and tour operators.

The U.S. embassy in India in a statement noted that efforts are being made to reduce wait times and backlogs by onboarding and training new employees. “The U.S. State Department has doubled consular hiring of US officers this fiscal year over last year, and newly trained employees are making their way to overseas consular adjudicator positions, including in India,” read the statement.