As a groundbreaking move to boost tourism, both Chinese and Kazakhstani travelers are given the privilege by Thailand’s authorities to enter the country without any visa obligations for a duration of five months – expiring on February 29. This ingenious initiative is currently in its pilot phase.
This breakthrough decision was made public by the Transport Minister of Thailand, Suriya Juangroongruangkit, at a high-level meeting held with the topmost executives of the Airports of Thailand (AOT). The meeting’s primary purpose was to strategize and implement initiatives to ease the process of international arrivals in the forthcoming weeks, just in time for the National Day holidays in China, which falls on October 1st.
The ministry projected that the visa-free period would considerably surge the average number of incoming Chinese flights from 72 to a whopping 96 per day. Likewise, the average Chinese visitor count per day is expected to almost double – rising from 9,680 to 18,656.
In light of this development, Minister Suriya directed the AOT along with all other associated agencies to ensure their personnel and equipment at three fundamental international airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, and Phuket, are fully prepared and operational to enhance the tourists’ immigration process.
Additionally, he instituted the creation of a centralized command center at each airport for the purpose of supervising operations and ensuring seamless coordination with allied agencies and airport services.
Kerati Kijmanawat, the AOT president, revealed in the meeting that he had requested the Immigration Bureau to effectively station officials at all of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s 138 passport checking booths during peak hours, to ensure all 16 automatic check-in booths are operational.
With these initiatives in place, the airport aims to process up to 7,140 arrivals per hour. Simultaneously, the average passport processing time is reduced to a swift minute for each passenger.
Kerati further stated that airlines have been requested to station staff at all 302 check-in booths, with public announcements promoting the use of automated systems to expedite the process. Moreover, all 69 outgoing booths will also be operated by immigration officials during peak rush periods. In tandem, the 16 available automatic channels will function.
Addressing the potentiality of overcrowding, airport officials have been instructed to equally distribute the influx of foreign nationals to each of the three luggage checking zones. Thanks to the Automatic Return Tray System implementation, each passenger’s checking procedure is projected to be completed within a convenient seven-minute period.
The operations blueprint of Don Mueang International Airport will echo this approach, added Kerati.
Minister Suriya emphasized the need for all involved officials to deliver rapid, effective services for international arrivals, ensuring their safety, comfort, and convenience during their stay in Thailand. The minister insisted all staff to employ interpersonal skills and comply with laws regarding service fees.