1st Dec 2022
Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob says that 130,000 people will go through Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport every day in December.
Saksayam said that around 115,000 people used the airport every day in November, when tourists came back for the high season.
The tourism industry always goes up in December, which is a holiday month, but it should keep going up after that. The transport minister says that Chinese tourists are expected to return to the kingdom early next year, no later than March.
After checking out the airport, Minister Saksayam says that immigration is ready for the increase in traffic. He says that the process for getting a passport has been sped up and that the average wait time for a new arrival is 15 minutes.
Saksayam said that immigration can process 3,000 people in 20 minutes, and that each foreign arrival takes an average of one minute to process.
Commander of the Immigration Bureau Pol. Maj. Gen. Choengron Rimphadee has said that officials only spend 45 seconds checking each arrival's passport information, visa status, biometric information, and blacklist status.
The transport minister said that at Suvarnabhumi Airport, passengers on any flight shouldn't have to wait more than 30 minutes to get their bags. This is a big change from last week, when Saksayam told Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways to fix the problem of luggage being late or else.
If the airport was really ready to handle so many arrivals, it's not clear why Thailand would tell Indians to get a visa from their local Thai embassy or consulate before flying to avoid lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport instead of getting a visa on arrival, as is their right.
When China loosens restrictions on COVID-19, it will have a big effect on airport traffic. Before the pandemic, tourism made up 20% of Thailand's economy, and 28% of foreign visitors were Chinese. But because of Beijing's COVID-Zero policy, the Chinese are no longer one of the top five countries that visit Thailand.
Economists say that when Chinese tourists come back to Thailand, the value of the Thai baht will go through the roof. In fact, the baht is already going up a little bit just because China hinted that the rules might be less strict soon.
Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that despite all the talks, the country should focus on getting "high-end travelers" instead of a lot of people.