The Thai cabinet decided today (Tuesday) to exempt Malaysian tourists from needing to submit the “tor mor 6” immigration form to enter Thailand through the Sadao border checkpoint, to speed up the immigration process.
The new measure is to start in November and last until April 30, to coincide with the tourism high season for Malaysians.
The normal immigration process at the checkpoint for Malaysians arriving by car takes about two hours, which causes bottlenecks at busy times.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, about 3.1 million Malaysians visited Thailand during the first nine months of this year, generating about Bt52.7 billion in revenue, based on an estimate that each tourist spends about Bt16,588 per trip.
Arrivals from Malaysia through the Sadao checkpoint are about 100,000 per month.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol disclosed that, this year up to October 22, about 21.5 million foreign tourists visited Thailand, generating about Bt904 billion in total revenue.
She noted 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. Tourist arrivals from Europe increased by 19% over the previous week.
Arrivals from the Middle East, however, dropped due to the war between Israel and Hamas, she said.
The top five in terms of 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%.