Prime Minister Setha Thaweesin, who also serves as the Minister of Finance, presided over the welcoming ceremony at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Gate D4, Samut Prakan Province,
on September 25, 2023, at 10:15 AM. The tourists arrived on Air Asia X flight XJ 761 from Xiamen to Suvarnabhumi, totaling 341 passengers (306 Chinese nationals and 35 others). This flight marked the first entry of Chinese tourists after the Thai government announced the visa exemption policy. Miss Sudawarn Wangsupakitkosol, Minister of Tourism and Sports, and Mr. Suriya Jengruengkij, Minister of Transport, were also present at the event. Mr. Han Ju, the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, and representatives from relevant government and private sector agencies joined the ceremony. Mr. Chaiwach Khomkan, the Prime Minister's spokesman, summarized the key points as follows:
The Prime Minister expressed that today is an auspicious occasion for welcoming Chinese tourists, and the government is confident that this move will greatly boost the economy. The government places high importance on the safety of tourists right from their initial steps into Thailand, ensuring their security and satisfaction. He noted that there is a significant number of reservations for travel in Thailand, and the government aims to encourage Chinese tourists to explore secondary cities in addition to major destinations. This will not only extend their stay in Thailand but also increase spending. The government is also working on making immigration and baggage claim processes more convenient and efficient. He thanked everyone involved in this effort and mentioned that the government will continue to stimulate the economy through various policies.
Following this, the Prime Minister and agency executives presented garlands and elephant-patterned scarves as souvenirs to the passengers of flight XJ 761. They also unveiled a welcome sign in Chinese that read, "China and Thailand, One Big Family, Amazing Thailand, Always Welcome Chinese Guests," and "Traveling in Thailand, the More You Travel, the More Fun It Is." The Prime Minister personally greeted and welcomed the tourists, creating a warm and memorable experience for them.
Moreover, TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) organized welcome ceremonies for Chinese and Kazakhstani tourists at four major airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport, Chiang Mai International Airport, and Phuket International Airport. These ceremonies featured small traditional performances and a long drum procession.
Additionally, TAT expects that the visa exemption policy will stimulate the Chinese tourist market for approximately 2,888,500 travelers within the next five months, generating revenue of 140.313 billion baht. During the same period, there will be an estimated 129,485 tourists from Kazakhstan, contributing 7.93 billion baht in revenue. The government is confident that this policy will ease travel restrictions in terms of both time and cost, making it easier for tourists to choose Thailand as their destination. This will particularly benefit families, tour groups, and incentive groups, especially during the upcoming Golden Week and New Year holidays. This policy is expected to boost the overall tourism industry, targeting 25-30 million foreign tourists and aiming to bring back 80% of the revenue from the international market, which was 1.5 trillion baht in 2022, ultimately achieving a total revenue of 2.38 trillion baht in 2023.