China News Service, Xiamen, March 1 (Yang Fushan and Fu Jiaping) Xiamen Airlines flight MF853 carrying more than 140 passengers took off from Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport on the morning of the 1st. China and Thailand mutually exempted ordinary passport holders from visas. On the first day when the agreement came into effect, Fujian's first outbound flight from China to Thailand was launched.

On the first day that mutual visa exemption between China and Thailand came into effect, police at Gaoqi Border Inspection Station inspected passengers on the first flight from China to Thailand in Fujian.

Photo by Liu Kai

  The "Agreement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Royal Government of Thailand on Mutual Visa Exemption for Ordinary Passport Holders" signed by the Chinese and Thai governments in Bangkok, Thailand, on January 28, officially came into effect on that day.

According to the agreement, Chinese personnel holding ordinary official passports and ordinary passports, and Thai personnel holding ordinary passports, can enter the other country without a visa for a single stay of no more than 30 days (a cumulative stay of no more than 90 days in every 180 days).

  Previously, Thailand implemented a phased unilateral visa exemption for China from September 25, 2023 to February 29, 2024, and will officially implement mutual visa exemption between the two countries from March 1.

  In order to meet the needs of passengers traveling to Thailand and visiting relatives, Xiamen Airlines and Spring Airlines currently have a total of 34 flights between Bangkok and Xiamen per week. Xiamen Airlines has 4 round-trip flights per day and Spring Airlines has 6 round-trip flights per week.

  Gaoqi Border Inspection Station said that with the continuous release of favorable visa-free policies, the "Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand" tour has attracted increasing attention.

During the previous period when Thailand implemented a phased visa-free policy for Chinese citizens, a total of more than 40,000 Chinese citizens visited Xiamen Port for tourism, business and other activities in Thailand, an increase of about 10% compared with May before the policy was implemented.

  Xiamen is the hometown of overseas Chinese. A large number of overseas Chinese in Thailand will receive more benefits, directly saving the time and economic cost of applying for visas. The favorable policies will lead to a "two-way rush" of inbound and outbound passenger flow.

  Gaoqi Border Inspection Station said that with the arrival of the two-way visa-free policy, the inbound and outbound passenger flow is expected to further increase.

To this end, the border inspection station has made work arrangements in advance, increased police support during peak hours, and dispatched police officers to promptly solve problems such as poor language communication, unfamiliar geographical location, and unclear policies and regulations for foreign passengers on site, and shortened the time to fill in the documents at the duty site. The timetable, waiting time for inspection and customs clearance will further improve customs clearance efficiency and provide considerate services to passengers traveling between China and Thailand.

  It is reported that Thailand is the third country to sign a mutual visa exemption agreement with China this year, following Singapore and Antigua and Barbuda, benefiting ordinary passport holders.

As of now, the number of countries that have such comprehensive mutual visa exemption arrangements with China has increased to 23, covering five continents.