Over 120,000 Chinese visitors are expected to arrive at Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports during the first week of visa exemptions for Chinese and Kazakh nationals beginning Monday, the Airports of Thailand (AOT) said.
Announced in the Royal Gazette on Sept 19, the visa-free scheme allowing a 30-day stay for citizens of China and Kazakhstan will run until Feb 29 next year.
AOT president Kerati Kijmanawat said on Friday the move would significantly increase the number of incoming tourists in the first week of Sept 25 to Oct 1.
The AOT expects 674 flights from China to Suvarnabhumi airport during the first week of the visa-free policy or an average of 96 flights per day.
In addition, 130,593 Chinese visitors are expected to fill incoming and outbound flights, with 65,584 arriving while 65,009 are departing.
At the same time, there will be six flights between Thailand and Kazakhstan from Sept 25 to Oct 1. The AOT expects that the number of Kazakh passengers will increase to 1,338 people from 853 passengers during the week before the visa exemption.
Don Mueang airport will have 414 flights to and from China from Sept 25-Oct 1, or about 60 flights per day, an increase from 326 flights in the previous week. The number of Chinese passengers will go up to 57,549 people from 43,783 in the week before visa exemption, said Mr Kerati.
From Jan 1 to Sept 17, there were 10,333 flights from China to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang and 1.6 million passengers travelling between the two countries, he said
He added that since March 26, 22 Chinese and three Thai airlines have operated between two airports in Bangkok and 23 airports in China.
Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said that the visa-free policy endorsed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is expected to yield positive results.
Mr Chai said that the government’s visa-free policy will boost the Chinese and Kazakh tourist numbers during its five-month period and help Thailand achieve the target of Chinese visitors this year, which is set at 5 million.