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Immigration staff are being boosted to speed departures and arrivals

Number of Immigration Officers at Phuket Airport Boosted to 350, Airlines Told

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
PHUKET: The number of Immigration officers at Phuket International Airport will jump from 212 to 350 at the end of the year in response to requests to improve service.

A meeting between Chinese airline representatives, tour operators and airport officials heard today that Thailand's Government had responded to complaints.

''We will also have an extra 24 people on standby around the clock to deal with peaks,'' said the Deputy Superintendent of Immigration at the airport, Colonel Rapeepaat Utsaha.

Between 5000-6000 Chinese tourists were passing through Phuket's airport each day but delays were exacerbated by the inability of many to interpret forms that are mostly in the English and Thai languages.

''Why can't the Tourism Authority of Thailand or even the airlines provide staff or volunteers to help the form-filling?'' Colonel Rapeepat asked.

He said package tourists usually had guides to help them - it was the independent travelling backpackers who usually encountered problems.

Airlines were now operating direct to Phuket from more than 20 Chinese cities and English was not commonly spoken in most of those cities.

A spokesperson from China Eastern suggested that airlines should consider handing out the forms before aircraft landed and screening a video explaing how to properly fill out the forms.

Comments

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Airlines are required to carry and hand out immigration forms for the country of their destination and any stopover nations they may have en route.

Furthermore a lot of countries print their immigration forms in many different languages.

Perhaps it's time the Thai Immigration Bureau adopts a more customer-friendly approach and starts printing out immigration forms in Chinese and Russian as a response to the 2 largest groups of tourists.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 29, 2013 22:01

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I fly every month and every month (nearly) my airline gives out Immigration forms on the plane. Places like Singapore have multi lingual forms and given the number of Chinese tourists Thailand should spend a little money and get them translated into Mandarin.

Posted by Same, same but different. on October 29, 2013 23:20

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350 immigration officers is great, but after the incoming tourists have cleared immigration, they are then at the 'mercy' of taxi and tour touts.

How many tourist police are on duty at the airport at night, when many of these planes arrive? The answer is - as far as my own checks are concerned - exactly zero.

How many foreign police volunteers are stationed at the airport to help tourists? Precisely 2, consisting of one volunteer who can spare a few hours per week to help at the airport and myself, who can help every day, (due to living close to the airport). Neither of us receives any benefit for our efforts to help tourists.

What will happen when Terminal X opens? Are the foreign volunteers expected to race between terminals to assist tourists? (as we currently do between Terminal 1 and 2).

My suggestion: Station English-speaking tourist police at all airport terminals on a 24/7 basis. Or create a new team of Tourist Assistants who are multilingual, knowledgable about the airport and onward travel options, and pay them a nominal (or not so nominal) salary for their work.

Simon

Posted by Simon Luttrell on October 29, 2013 23:25


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