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Muay Thai tourists touch down

Muay Thai tourists touch down

The initial group of eight Chinese tourists has arrived on this southern resort island to embark on a journey of learning Muay Thai, facilitated by 90-day “Non-Ed” visas, as part of Thailand’s soft power initiative.

Paitoon Chutimakornkul, an advisor to the prime minister and the sports sub-committee, accompanied by several officials, extended a warm welcome to the eight Chinese tourists upon their arrival at Phuket International Airport on Saturday.

These tourists mark the first batch of foreign visitors traveling to Thailand under the Non-Immigrant ED Visa, or Non-Ed Visa, specifically to immerse themselves in the art of Thai boxing.

Mr. Paitoon explained that this visa category grants foreign tourists enrolled in Muay Thai classes a total stay of 90 days, comprising an additional 30 days beyond the standard allowance of 60 days. This dispensation alleviates the necessity for these tourists to return to their home countries to extend their Thai visas, enabling them to remain in the Kingdom for the duration of their Thai boxing training.

He emphasized that this initiative aligns with the sports sub-committee’s policy, as Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin advocates for Muay Thai as a significant component of Thailand’s soft power strategy.

The program has garnered considerable interest, evidenced by numerous countries reaching out to the Sports Authority of Thailand’s (SAT) Board of Boxing Sport. The SAT will assist participants in obtaining the requisite documentation for participation in the program, according to Mr. Paitoon.

“This program will not only elevate the global prominence of Muay Thai but also contribute to the promotion of other sports in Thailand,” he remarked.

On the preceding Friday, Pimol Srivikorn, an adviser to the prime minister and chairman of the sports sub-committee within the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, disclosed that the SAT and his sub-committee had conducted a secondary trial to certify Muay Thai instructors for overseas teaching. Eleven candidates successfully passed the evaluation.

“They will commence teaching Muay Thai from tomorrow (Saturday) until Thursday in Saudi Arabia, which has expressed keen interest in importing Muay Thai trainers from Thailand,” Mr. Pimol revealed.

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