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Officials in Thailand are now anticipating an influx of visitors from China, as the Chinese government is lifting its restrictions on international travel that have effectively prevented its citizens from spending holidays abroad.
“Celebrate where you are” no more
People in China are now able to travel without restriction for the first time since the pandemic’s start during Lunar New Year, the nation’s most significant holiday. Family reunions often involve billions of travels, but over the past three years, those have been drastically reduced as the government has pushed people to “celebrate where you are” in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
As vacation spots like Pattaya and Phuket get ready for Chinese guests over the upcoming Chinese New Year, Thai tourism companies anticipate their return.
The activities of tour operators have resumed as they get ready for the arrival of Chinese tourists in tour groups late in January during the Chinese New Year holiday, but it will take months or even years for the flow of Chinese tourists, who were a $280 billion spending force before the pandemic, to return to pre-pandemic levels.
However, Suvarnabhumi Airport is preparing for a significant increase in passenger numbers ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays, projecting up to 140,000 daily arrivals, according to a NNT report.
After infections increased, many nations imposed testing restrictions on visitors from China. Airlines have also been unwilling to make significant modifications to their flight schedules right away, so capacity is still limited and costs are high.
1.3 million international passengers expected in Suvarnabhumi Airport
According to Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, around 1.8 million people, or about 139,000 passengers per day, are expected to use the airport’s facilities during the Chinese New Year celebrations from January 16–28.
During that time, some 1.3 million people are expected to use the airport’s international terminal, along with 454,000 domestic passengers.
Kittipong is recommending passengers on foreign flights to be at the airport three hours in advance and those flying domestically to show up two hours in advance because it is anticipated that the number of passengers will increase over the upcoming Spring holiday break. This is especially advised for people whose flights depart between 7:00 and 9:00 PM.
The airport has also increased personnel at passport check-in counters to assist the Immigration Bureau, instructed baggage operators to ensure that luggage is expediently transported, and arranged adequate personnel and equipment for available services.