New Chinese-only immigration lanes to open at 5 Thai airports

Former immigration bureau chief Surachate Hakparn unveils a new lane for Chinese travelers in August 2018. Photo: Tourist Police
Former immigration bureau chief Surachate Hakparn unveils a new lane for Chinese travelers in August 2018. Photo: Tourist Police

Tired of those brutal immigration lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport? Well, you’re in luck — if you’re Chinese.

Special immigration lanes dedicated specifically for Chinese tourists made their debut at Bangkok’s international airport on Friday night, a move aimed at winning back the confidence among what is becoming one of Thailand’s most important tourist groups.

Chinese passport holders are now able to utilize any of 18 Chinese-only lanes at Suvarnabhumi. Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Hat Yai airports will soon have dedicated lines for Chinese tourists as well.

Photo: Tourist Police
Photo: Tourist Police

According to Deputy Tourist Police chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpal, the VIP lanes are meant to show Thailand’s “hospitality and sincerity” towards Chinese tourists.

READ: Immigration says all desks were staffed when Suvarnabhumi Airport was overloaded with 4,600 visitors

 The special lanes will be staffed by Chinese-speaking immigration officials.

In the past six years, China has become Thailand’s top provider of tourists. In 2017, more than a quarter of Thailand’s 35 million tourists were from that country.

However, just last month, as many as 600,000 Chinese tourists canceled their trips to Thailand after 47 of their countrymen died when a boat capsized off Phuket, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Those cancellations represented a total revenue loss of THB37 billion (US$1.11 billion). Apparently enough to warrant some special treatment.

Related:

Staff shortage causes four-hour queue at Don Mueang immigration


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