Tenfold tourist increase due after Thailand-Saudi route opens

Thailand is expecting a tenfold increase in visitors from Saudi Arabia after the launch of the Bangkok to Jeddah route on August 19.

Deputy government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek estimates that the upcoming launch of the direct air route between the holy city of Mecca and the Kingdom of Thailand’s capital city will push up the number of visitors from 30,000 to 300,000.

Thai Airways International (THAI) announced it will operate four weekly flights to Jeddah on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Rachada announced that the increase in flights between the two kingdoms is part of a plan to heal a 30-year diplomatic relations rift and to become trading partners once again.

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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Saudi Arabia in January earlier this year to try and repair strained relations between the two nations following the Blue Diamond Affair in 1989. Diplomatic relations have been tense since a Thai cleaner in the royal Saudi palace stole diamonds worth US$20 million. Things escalated even further the following year in 1990 when three Saudi diplomats and a businessman were killed trying to recover the gems.

Pm Prayut apologised for the incidents and hoped the nations could forget the past, move forward, and start trading once again.

In the past, Saudi visitors have had to detour through other cities before arriving in Thailand. But the opening of the Bangkok to Jeddah route will change all of that, and be beneficial to Thais and other foreigners too.

The route now allows travellers to visit Saudi Arabia, make a pilgrimage at the annual Hajj in Mecca, and seek employment. A deal has been discussed between the two kingdoms to allow Thai nationals to work in Saudi Arabia.

The deputy government spokesperson also made it known that THAI is promoting the southern provinces in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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