Hien, yes you do get that message when booking your flight, although when checking in it's pot luck as to whether Air Asia ask to see your onward ticket (we heard some people had been asked at check-in). I know Quantas and Cathay have been asking travellers at check-in if they have an onward ticket or visa and weren't allowing people to check-in without one.
I think we just have to accept that Thailand is now changing it's approach to tourists and is almost always requiring the onward ticket which can only be a flight...a lot of people who live in Thailand and other regular visitors seem to think this is just a first stage and to come in the future is either a reduction in the 'visa-free' time you get to 21 days or a charge like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos to get in!
Visa -wise Thailand is under a lot of pressure from especially the USA to join in their "war on terror" - the result is they are having to enforce their immigration laws more rigidly - of course being Thailand there is a lack of consistancy, method and logic in the way it's carried out but there is no shift in policy towards tourism - it is too big a part of the national economy
Slight hi-jack of thread
I was under the impression that Thailand wanted to change the type of tourists it was getting. At the end of May I read an article in the Nation which was basically an interview with the minister for tourism (or someone like it...my memory is a little fuzzy!). He said that Thailand didn't 'need' backpackers anymore (although backpackers are what have built the tourist industry into what it is now!?), the government wants to encourage the 'higher end' tourists such as those who book through Kuoni and pay silly amounts of money for 10 day holidays. He said he didn't see the value in backpackers visiting Thailand, that the Thais should concentrate on the shorter time but higher spending tourists to make as much money as possible.
According to many Thai's Thailand does not need tourists and they seem quite happy (from our extensive experience) in p*ssing them off in shops, markets and restaurants and our 'backpacker' money is not enough/good enough for them. Sadly we will not return to Thailand again, after 7 years of visiting on holidays and quite a bit of time spent there as backpackers this past 6 months. This is a shame for us as we once planned to move there and settle.
We would much rather go to a country which values us as tourists, treats us with respect and doesn't make us jump through hoops to get into the country in the first place.
Ok, rant over! returned to original topic!
Bottom line is if you want to be sure of getting into Thailand, buy an onward ticket (be prepared to lose this if you don't actually use it) as the Immigration do seem to be enforcing this rule
One swallow doesn't make a summer!
A stuffed shirt who suddenly finds himself being interviewed by a paper and needs something to say - and you think that is a change in policy - firstly Thailand doesn't really have a policy. secondly if they did they couldn't make it work - anyone with half a brain should know that you can't just have one kind of tourist to make a viable tourist industry.
Anyway how is that reflected in visa requirements?
If you equate it with getting a better idea of exactly who the hell is in the country yes it makes sense - but have they been turning away hoards of backpackers? No of course not.
no they haven't been turning backpackers away, BUT backpackers are the primary group of tourists that this visa change is going to affect the most, as well as the ex-pats doing visa runs. Other 'types' of tourist ie package tourists, have plane tickets out of the country...higher end tourists are unlikely to leave Thailand by land like backpackers.
So the visa policy is affecting backpackers (and ex-pats) disproportionately more than the average tourist going to Thailand on holiday. Do you really think that this was not the Thai government's intention all along? The person who was interviewed reflected the views of other members of the government from previous interviews about wanting to change the face of tourism in Thailand and discouraging backpackers from going there. Yes I agree just having one type of tourist cannot make the economy viable, but all I am saying is that this is the 'noise' the Thai government has been making over the last 6 months.