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China and Thailand discuss bilateral visa exemptions

China and Thailand are willing to hold talks about bilateral visa exemptions for tourists from the two countries. Travel between China and Thailand is likely to become very easy.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has sent out signals of bilateral visa exemptions between China and Thailand, saying it will offer Chinese and Thai tourists more convenience. And Chinese travelers are looking forward to it.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, China is now the biggest source of tourists to Thailand and is growing rapidly. Over 3 million Chinese visited Thailand in the first 8 months of 2013, up nearly 90 percent over the same period of 2012.

"More people will join our travel groups to Thailand. And paperwork will be simplified so we can bring our tourists deeper in Thailand to some small cities to make their trip more interesting." Li Mei, director of Southeast Asia Division of China International Travel Service Ltd., said.

Li Mei said compared with group tourists, individual travelers will be mostly benefited. Applying for a Thai visa takes between 3 to 5 days and costs about 240 yuan for Chinese citizens. For those living in smaller cities, they need to hire travel agencies to mail the documents to the Thai Embassy or consulate. If the visa is waived, a "Do it yourself" trip to Thailand will be no harder than travel within China.