The Immigration Bureau (IB) has adopted a plan to deal with an overwhelming number of visitors expected later this year when the government's heavy tourism promotion campaign kicks in.
Codenamed "Nan Fa 13/61", the plan is being implemented at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai airports as instructed by Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, acting commissioner of the bureau, said Pol Col Choengron Rimphadi, a deputy bureau spokesman.
The plan is designed to increase the speed of immigration clearance for foreign travellers during busy hours, Pol Col Choengron said.
These airports are expected to tackle an even greater number of flights when the government's year-end tourism promotion campaign takes effect, he said.
Under the plan, all immigration check counters will have to be fully staffed when the immigration check zone is half-filled with passengers, he said.
The bureau is also working more closely with airlines and Airports of Thailand to better prepare passengers for clearance by providing information about immigration clearance procedures and requirements, he said.
Without these measures, the airports' immigration counters will likely be jam-packed with passengers, especially during holiday periods, he said.
Besides, the number of passengers is expected to rise every year as the country's aviation industry is growing by at least 10% per annum, he said.
Although faster immigration clearance is a priority goal, immigration officers will not be allowed to compromise on security, he said.
Several teams have been deployed to conduct random appraisals of immigration officers at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, he said.