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France to cut visa time for Thais to 48 hours

Thais queue in front of the French embassy on Charoen Krung Road. (File photo)

PARIS - France will cut visa delivery time to 48 hours for Thais and citizens of seven other countries in a bid to boost tourism, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Wednesday.

After a drop in 2016 following a wave of attacks that hit Paris and Nice, tourist numbers are rebounding this year. France is eyeing a record of as many as 89 million foreign tourists, up from 83 million last year, and 100 million visitors in 2020.

Citizens of Thailand, Russia, India, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Indonesia will from Nov 1 see the time to get a visa - which now takes around 10 days or so, more in peak season - fall to 48 hours.

This measure, which is already in place for a few other countries, including Qatar, would be extended to Saudi Arabia and Vietnam next year if a change in EU visa procedures for those countries allow it.

The government also said it would assign more staff to airport passport checks to limit waiting time to 30 minutes for EU citizens and 45 minutes for non-EU citizens.

Tourism generates over 7% of France's gross domestic product and employs 2 million people.

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