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Rich Old Foreigners Get 10-Year Welcome in Thailand

 (Khao Sod) – Affluent foreign residents over 50 will soon be able to apply for 10-year visas, a government spokesman said Tuesday.


VIDEO: While the intention is to promote Thailand as a medical tourism hub, some fear that Thailand’s stigma as a sex tourism hotspot may continue to suffer with an increase in wealthy foreigners.

Intended to promote Thailand as a hub for medical services, the policy was approved by the interim cabinet on Tuesday, according to spokesman Athisit Chainuwat.


Thailand will exceed 2016 targets for visitor numbers and looks set to generate over US$73.7 billion from Tourism, which is up 14% from 2015. Photo Credit: Richard Hubatka

It would replace one-year renewable visas and come in two installments of five years each, Athisit said. It was not immediately clear when the plan would be implemented.

The Medical Tourism Sector is growing rapidly in Thailand
The Medical Tourism Sector is growing rapidly in Thailand

Applicants must either earn a monthly salary of at least 100,000 baht or have more than 3 million baht in their bank account, which cannot be withdrawn within the first year after receiving the visa.

They must also have health insurance that covers hospital stays and provides at least USD$10,000 in annual coverage.

Thailand’s low cost of living and pristine beaches are a huge draw for many retirees. Photo Credit: Thorfinn Stainforth

Visa holders will still have to check in every 90 days with the Bureau of Immigration, Athisit said.

Thai elephants are renowned for their showmanship.

Applicants for the visa are expected to be foreigners who live in provinces such as Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Chonburi, the spokesman added.

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