Since June 25 and until March next year, tourist visas will be free for everyone visiting the kingdom. It will affect people staying at least one month (and less than 3 month). For short stays, i.e. less than 30 days, most nationalities are already exempt from visa. Extensions of tourist visas (from 60 to 90 days) are also reported to be free.
This seems to show that Thailand is trying to do something to revive its tourism industry, which has been badly hurt not only by the global economic recession, but also by internal political unrest (remember the seizure of the airports and the Asean summit fiasco). Some other factors didn’t help either, like recent cases of tourists being jailed over trifling matters, and crackdowns on this and that (but not on temple scammers, taxi touts or airport mafia). Let us also mention the competition of neighbouring countries, some of them having aggressive policies aimed at attracting tourists and long term expats.
In this difficult context, it will take more than free visas to restore confidence. Besides, Thai consulates abroad are dependent on visa fees to sustain their activity, and it’s been reported that some of them now charge an “administrative fee” to compensate for the loss of profit. So in the end you may have to pay for a free visa!