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Hotels hope for increase in foreign tourists to offset slump in domestic demand

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PHOTO: Flickr/Marike de Meij

Hotels in Thailand’s normally busy tourist hotspots are hoping that a further re-opening to foreign travellers will offset the drop in domestic demand. The Bangkok Post reports that travel curbs have decimated domestic tourism in places like Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga.

Kongsak Khoopongsakorn from the Thai Hotels Association says the Phuket sandbox scheme welcomed around 10,000 tourists in its first month, but the southern island has 30,000 hotel rooms to fill. He adds that a new rule that allows sandbox travellers to visit other islands once they’ve spent 7 days on Phuket may lure more visitors.

“If the re-opening plan moves forward and the country can control the outbreak more effectively, leading the EU to place Thailand back on the safe travel list, we can expect a surge in demand of 20 – 30% at the end of the year.”

His colleague Ruengnam Chaikwang says interest in the Samui Plus re-opening scheme is lukewarm, adding that the mandatory 7-day quarantine is putting people off coming. He says as long as this requirement remains, travel agents are reluctant to market the scheme.

The Bangkok Post reports that domestic tourism has disappeared in Chon Buri after the eastern province was added to the list of high-risk, dark red zones. Phisut Sae-Khu from the THA says the government must speed up vaccination in places like Pattaya, where only 20% of the population has been inoculated. According to Phisut, tourism operators are in talks with provincial health officials to receive between 50,000 and 60,000 vaccine doses for workers in the tourism sector.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai, La-Iad Bungsrithong from the THA’s northern chapter says the province’s re-opening date of September 1 faces a challenge as a result of vaccine shortages, with just 18% of the population vaccinated.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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