The number of travellers using Suvarnabhumi airport is predicted to soar to 59 million this year, adding more congestion to the already overcrowded terminal.

Airport director Sirote Duangratana bases his estimate on the number of passengers during the first five months of this year, which peaked in February with 195,000 people in just one day. The number of flights per day also rose to 1,300 in the same month.

This year, Mr Sirote believes, the total number of the travelers will jump to 59 million, up around 5% from 55.9 million last year.

“The numbers show the crackdown on ‘zero dollar’ tourism had no direct impact,” he said, referring to tourism packages from China in which customers pay very cheap prices, or nothing, for trips to Thailand and are pressured to buy overpriced goods and services here from the company’s partners.

Despite fewer Chinese tourists, travellers from other countries continue to crowd the airport, Mr Sirote said.

Airport officials will encourage more Thais to use automatic passport checking facilities to quicken the immigration process. He said it is not very popular, with only 60% of Thais using it to date.

Thailand tourism generates 840 bln Baht ($24.7 bln) in first four months

Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has released figures showing that during the first four months of this year, 12 million visitors came to Thailand spending around 620 billion Baht, an increase of 4.71 per cent when compared with the same period in 2016.

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