Thailand's airports prepare for increasing number of passengers during Lunar New Year

By VNA   February 6, 2024 | 08:42 pm PT
Thailand's airports prepare for increasing number of passengers during Lunar New Year
Tourists wait to check in for flights at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 4, 2023. Photo by Reuters
The Airports of Thailand (AOT) expects that foreign arrivals will increase sharply during the coming Lunar New Year holidays.

Early this week, Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made a surprise visit to Suvarnabhumi airport and instructed officials to speed up immigration and baggage claim procedures for travelers.

AOT Director Kirati Kijmanawat said on Feb. 6 that the number of passengers flying into Thailand is expected to jump by 206%, compared to the same period last year, as the country has now fully reopened to foreign visitors.

He said the government's visa-free policy for tourists from countries has given the industry a much-needed boost.

Thailand is applying visa exemption for visitors from Kazakhstan and China for 30-day stay until Feb. 29. Russian passport holders can stay in Thailand for 90 days until April 30, while Indian and Taiwanese tourists also enjoy a 30-day stay until May 10.

Recently, Thailand and China signed an agreement on a reciprocal visa-free scheme that will take effect from March 1. Under the agreement, holders of valid, ordinary Thai passports and Chinese holders of passports for public affairs and ordinary passports will be exempt from visa requirements for entering, exiting or transiting the other country for up to 30 days.

Kirati also said that self-check-in kiosks had been installed at AOT's six international airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Chiang Rai – so that passengers can check in up to six hours in advance.

The Suvarnabhumi airport has 210 self-check-in kiosks while 50 are available at Don Mueang, Kirati said, adding passengers can save time and avoid long queues as the service only takes a few minutes.

According to the official, about 17% of passengers use the self-check-in system, and AOT plans to increase the number to 50%.

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