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Thai airports prepares for imagined surge in Chinese visitors from March

Chinese arrive in Thailand
FILE PHOTO: Chinese visitors arrive in Thailand

Airports of Thailand expects to welcome at least 8 million Chinese travellers this year, according to AoT director, Kirati Kijmanawat. From March 1, a bilateral visa exemption agreement comes into force for Thai and Chinese travellers.

This expected surge would be a turn around from the low numbers of Chinese travellers in the latter part of 2023 and over the new year break. The expected additional numbers of Chinese arrivals are pure speculation.

Kirati says Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit has instructed all AoT airports to prepare for the expected influx in Chinese arrivals, along with Thai outbound travellers. There are 6 airports under AoT management – Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, along with Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai airports.

The recently-announced visa exemption agreement is being introduced to boost travel between Thailand and China. Prior to the pandemic, the Chinese were by far the biggest tourism market for Thailand, but there has been no bounce back to the 11 million arrivals seen in 2019 – at least not yet.

According to a Bangkok Post report, travellers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can enter China visa-free for the purpose of conducting business, tourism, visiting friends or family, or transiting. Stays are limited to 15 days from the date of arrival and the policy will be in place until November 30.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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