Home Semasa Immigration ease at Sadao Checkpoint into Thailand

Immigration ease at Sadao Checkpoint into Thailand

by Air Times Correspondent

ALOR STAR, 6 NOV – For six months from Wednesday (Nov 1), tourists visiting Thailand via the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao border will be exempted from submitting the TM6 immigration form.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Kuala Lumpur director Sirinthara Surakanitaya confirmed a Thai government directive to that effect.

The move is set to benefit the estimated 100,000 Malaysians and hordes of other nationals entering the kingdom’s southern region into the Songkhla province, each month.

“This new regulation will significantly reduce waiting times especially at the Sadao checkpoint (in southern Thailand, where wait times can reach up to four hours, which causes bottlenecks at busy times.

“This initiative will streamline the immigration process and contribute to boosting Thailand’s economy by enhancing its appeal to tourists.

“Malaysian is our No.1 visitor-arrival and remained Thailand’s biggest border-trade partner.

“Todate, Thailand has already welcomed over 3.5 million Malaysian tourists this year, and this exemption is expected to attract even more visitors,” she said, adding that the initiative only affected the Sadao checkpoint and not the other eight Malaysia-Thailand land-sea border crossings.

The remaining eight border checkpoints are at Kuah Jetty (Langkawi)-Tammalung Pier (Satun), Wang Kelian (Perlis)-Wang Prachan (Satun), Padang Besar (Perlis-Songkhla), Durian Burung (Kedah)-Ban Prakob (Songkhla), Bukit Berapit (Perak)-Betong (Yala), Bukit Bunga (Kelantan) Ban-Bukheta (Narathiwat), Rantau Panjang (Kelantan)-Sungai Golok (Narathiwat) and Pengkalan Kubor (Kelantan)-Tak Bai (Narathiwat).

Sirinthara was commenting on deputy government spokesman Karom Phonphonklang who announced that the Thai cabinet today (Oct 25) had agreed to temporarily halt the need for foreigners, especially Malaysians, to submit the departure and arrival card when crossing the Sadao immigration checkpoint from Nov 1 to April 30 next year – to ease congestion during the tourist peak-season.

Karom said that temporarily exempting foreigners from submitting the TM6 form would speed up the immigration process, reduce congestion at the checkpoints, improve Thailand’s image, promote tourism in the region and stimulate the country’s economy.

He revealed that for the first nine months this year, 3.1 million Malaysian tourists visited Thailand, generating 52.75 billion baht (100 baht = RM13.22).

“Each Malaysian tourist on the average spent 16,588 baht per person during their visit.

“Thailand welcomed 21.56 million tourists, bringing in 904.9 billion baht as of Oct 22 this year,” Karom said.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol disclosed that tourism recovery in several regions of Thailand in the first week of October was better than expected, which coincided with the arrival of the high tourism season and the vegetarian festival.

She said tourist arrivals from Europe increased by 19% over the previous week, while arrivals from the Middle East, however, dropped due to the war between Israel and Hamas.

The top five foreign arrivals during the first week of October were 83,028 from Malaysia (up 11.85%); 59,288 from China (down 2.96%); 31,932 from China (up 5.84%); 29,298 from South Korea (up 7.46%) and 23,801 from Russia (up 8.10%). – airtimes.my

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