Preparing for Visa-Free Visitors: Suvarnabhumi Airport Increases Staff

visa-free policy immigration staff

New Visa-Free Policy

Starting next week, Suvarnabhumi International Airport is expecting a significant increase in tourist arrivals from China and Kazakhstan due to the implementation of a new visa-free policy. The policy, approved on September 13 and announced in the Royal Gazette on September 17, will ease entry for nationals of both countries. Effective from Monday, the visa-free entry will last until February 29 next year.

Boosting Immigration Staff

In anticipation of the influx of tourists during the high season, deputy police commissioner Pol Lt Gen Thatchai Pitaneelaboot recently met with officers from Immigration Division 2 at the airport. They discussed and inspected the officers’ preparations for welcoming the wave of visitors. Pol Lt Gen Thatchai estimates that the number of Chinese tourists will rise sharply from 300,000 to 500,000 a month after the policy takes effect.

To provide fast service, about 150 immigration police officers will be available to man all 119 immigration counters during peak hours at the airport. The busiest times for flights from China and Kazakhstan are before dawn and midday. Each visitor is expected to spend less than 20 minutes in the visa queue.

Special Checkpoints and Language Assistance

In addition to the increased staff, special immigration checkpoints will be opened for tour groups. Officers with specialist language skills will be assigned to immigration areas to assist visitors who may need help.

Addressing Concerns About Shady Businesses

When asked if the visa-free scheme would make it easier for Chinese nationals working in shady businesses to enter Thailand, Pol Lt Gen Thatchai said the Immigration Bureau has measures for screening and background checking systems. These measures aim to minimize the chance of individuals involved in shady operations entering Thailand.

Tourism Boost in Thailand

From January 1 to September 18 this year, Thailand welcomed 19,000,988 international tourists, generating about 795 billion baht for the country, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry. Just last week, the country welcomed 470,708 foreign tourists. This new visa-free policy is expected to further boost tourism and contribute to Thailand’s economy.