Phuketwan has confirmed the reports. The move is bound to boost the numbers of Chinese tourists coming to Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and other Thai tourist destinations.
Xinhua says that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) agreed to waive visa fees for Chinese tourists from August 1 to October 31, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, was quoted as saying.
Southern Thailand Chinese Consul Qin Jian said today that he knew nothing about any new arrangements, but that there had certainly been many complaints about Phuket International Airport Immigration officials taking bribes of 200 baht from every individual arriving on some charter flights.
He had been in touch with the Immigration superintendent at the airport, who had promised to make sure it did not keep happening, the consul said. With the Army in charge on Phuket, corruption is likely to be severely punished.
Passenger figures passing through Phuket International Airport dropped in June by 12.5 percent - the first negative result in five years of constant month-by-month growth.
So far this year, the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand has dropped by around 25 percent year-on-year, with those traveling to Bangkok slumping by almost 40 percent.
The downturn is attributed to the political tumult that lasted from late last year to May 22, when the Army took charge of Thailand.
Tourism officials in Thailand will invite Chinese tourism officials to a series of promotion activities to restore the confidence of Chinese visitors, officials in Taiwan said.
Politically, opening the doors to an increasing number of Chinese visitors is likely to annoy US officials. The US, Australia and the European Union have sought to punish Thailand for the coup.
The US in particular is engaged in a subtle struggle with China for support around the SouthEast Asia region.