Thailand: Special welcoming for Chinese tourists

Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with the Airports of Thailand (AOT) and tourism stakeholders organised a special welcoming ceremony to celebrate the recently launched visa fee waiver scheme for holders of Chinese and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) passports, effective from 9 August.

The special event was held on 16 August, to welcome 180 passengers arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport with China Southern Airlines flight CZ357 from Guangzhou, China. Marking the special welcoming ceremony was the impressive Joe Louis traditional Thai puppet performance.

High-ranking delegations from TAT, AOT, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Thailand, the Immigration Bureau of Thailand, Association of Thai Travel Agents and Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association were also present to offer a warm welcome and give a token gift to all passengers at the Airport’s Arrival Gate D4.

For the period of three (3) months, between August and October 2014, holders of Chinese and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) passports will be exempted from paying the visa fees when visiting Thailand purely for the purpose of tourism. This visa fee waiver scheme is part of the pro-tourism policies recently launched by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to stimulate inbound tourism from China in the last quarter of 2014.

During the three-month period, Suvarnabhumi Airport will be specially decorated with a Chinese-style pavilion and designated digital screens displaying a welcoming message in Chinese. To expedite the facilitation of the visa-on-arrival for Chinese tourists, there will be three (3) specially assigned “Chinese Lanes” and five “Premium Lanes”. In addition, Chinese-speaking translators will be stationed at several areas throughout the Airport.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, TAT Governor said, “TAT expects this special visa fee waiver scheme to attract some 400,000 – 500,000 Chinese and Chinese Taipei tourists per month, from normally around 200,000 – 300,000 pax monthly. The policy is also seen as a positive factor that will encourage tourists from China to visit Thailand during the China’s National Day Golden Week holiday in October.”

TAT estimates Thailand to attract 1.5 million tourists from China in the last three months of 2014, bringing the total number for the year to 4.3 million travellers or higher than the initial target of 3.98 million visitors.