Foreign tourists swarm into Thailand

Image via Sang Boorsrinaya

Immigration officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok are struggling to cope with the crescendo of foreign tourists flooding into Thailand. Pictures of the jampacked airport taken on Sunday, October 20, reveal a promising outlook for Thailand’s tourist High Season, which runs from November to April.

Between 1pm-5pm on Sunday, 76 flights landed on the airport’s runway, an average of 20 flights per hour. An average of 3,000 – 4,000 foreign tourists per hour passed through immigration that day, according to the Spokesperson for the Immigration Bureau Mj Gen Choengron Rimphadee. It is by the far the busiest the airport has been since before the pandemic.

To ensure that arrivals didn’t have to wait longer than one hour at immigration, all immigration booths were staffed and officers spent no longer than 45 seconds checking the passport data, visa status, personal biometric data, and blacklist status of each arrival.

Commander of Immigration Division 2 Pol Maj Gen Montree Pancharoen said that although immigration officers are quick, they still do a thorough job to ensure that foreign criminals posing as tourists do not slip through the net and into the kingdom ahead of the APEC summit in Bangkok later this month, which will be attended by several world leaders.

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In preparation for High Season, the airport increased the number of immigration booths from 92 to 112. During busy hours, every booth will be staffed, said the officer.

The airport is capable of checking in around 6,500 passengers per hour without compromising security, said Maj Gen Choengron Rimphadee.

Staff from Airports of Thailand (AOT) helps the immigration process run smoothly by lining up passengers and helping them prepare their documents before going through immigration checks.

Currently, Suvarnabhumi Airport is welcoming an average of 45,000 to 50,000 people every day and the airport only expects figures to increase.

Several of Thailand’s policies are thought to have contributed to the uptick in foreign arrivals, including granting longer stays to tourists, the legalisation of cannabis, and the complete removal of Covid-19 entry restrictions and requirements.

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Thailand Travel

leah

Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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