The Prime Minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, welcomed the inaugural Chinese flight under the visa waiver initiative on Monday morning, September 25th.
306 Chinese tourists and 35 other nationals arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport today on flight XJ 761, operated by AirAsia X, which came directly from Shanghai. Distinguished officials at the welcoming ceremony included PM Srettha, Minister of Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, Minister of Transport Suriya Juangroongruangkit, and Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Han Zhiqiang.
PM Srettha warmly welcomed the tourists who were on what was considered the first flight under the visa exemption program for Chinese and Kazakh visitors, which began today, September 25th.
He stated that today marked a positive milestone for the country. He expressed confidence that the visa initiative would have a significant impact on the economy. Srettha further emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of tourists to build trust among them while traveling in Thailand. He also urged tourism officials in “secondary provinces” to focus on attracting tourists to visit their areas to stimulate the local economy.
Many Chinese tourists asked to take selfies with PM Srettha. Welcome signs in Chinese, which read “China-Thailand, one family, Amazing Thailand. Always welcome Chinese guests, just like family” and “Travel in Thailand, the more you travel, the more fun it is,” were specifically used to greet Chinese tourists.
According to an estimate from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the exemption of visas will hopefully bring around 2,888,500 travelers to Thailand and generate a revenue of 140.31 billion baht.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that there will be around 129,485 visitors from Kazakhstan during the five-month overall duration period of the program, contributing 7.93 billion baht to the economy.
TAT’s overall tourism target for the year 2023 is at 25-30 million visitors and a revenue of 2.38 trillion baht.