The ambiance of anticipative calm prevails as an immigration officer patrols the area before Sadao checkpoint in the charming Songkhla province of southern Thailand. The image, captured perfectly by astute lens of Assawin Pakkawan, echoes the significant changes that are about to take place in Thai’s immigration process.
In an exciting turn of events, the Thai cabinet has recently given the green light to a pivotal proposal. This ratified endorsement involves a temporary three-month suspension, starting from the 1st of November, of the requirement for non-Thai tourists to fill out the typically obligatory Tor Mor 6 (TM 6) immigration forms at the bustling Sadao immigration checkpoint.
This striking reform, as expounded by the deputy government spokesman, Kharom Polpornklang, is slated to commence as soon as the next month comes sweeping in. The principal aim of this groundbreaking development? To significantly simplify the journey for Malaysian visitors keen on exploring the diverse splendors of Thai culture, food, and landscape.
As per the records of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), tourists often found themselves devoting over two hours to navigating the immigration protocols at the busy Sadao district checkpoint. This duration often extended further during peak holiday and festival rush hours, proving inconvenient to eager travellers.
From January through to September this year, Malaysians emerged as the majority among the foreign tourists flocking enchanting Thailand. A staggering 3.1 million Malaysian visitors graced the Thai soil, contributing a substantial 52 billion baht to the Thai income. TAT data revealed that, on an average, each visiting Malaysian didn’t hesitate before spending a handsome 16,588 baht per trip.
Moreover, Immigration Bureau statistics show a steady inflow of about 100,000 Malaysian visitors entering Thailand each month, courtesy of the Sadao immigration checkpoint. This high influx reveals an undeniable interest among Malaysians to explore the Thai cultural and natural wonders. And it’s not just Thailand that is attracting them; most visitors already have itinerary plans extending to additional mesmerizing provinces, an observation confirmed by the earnest deputy spokesman.
In the words of Mr. Kharom, “This noteworthy relaxation of the TM 6 forms at the Sadao immigration checkpoint is set to expedite immigration procedures, polish Thailand’s global image, alleviate congestion in front of the checkpoint, and provide an enhanced level of convenience to high potential tourists.” Infused with optimism, he further added, “This step is an excellent catalyst to boost travel, bring monetary benefits to other regions, and stimulate spending circulation within the national economy.” His words resonate with palpable excitement for the unprecedented potential this transformative step holds for Thailand.