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Recovery of Thailand’s international tourism sector likely to take years

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: PR Bangkok

International tourism demand for Thailand is still low, according to a Bangkok Post report, with a full recovery predicted to take years. Just 133,061 foreign arrivals touched down in Thailand between November 1 and 30, well below the 3 million visitors a month of pre-pandemic times.

However, despite low visitor numbers to his province, Pongsakorn Ketprapakorn from the Tourism Council of Phang Nga remains optimistic for the coming months. According to Pongsakorn, forward bookings for January and February have already reached 30%, while this month’s average hotel occupancy rate of 20% is up from 10% last month. Pongsakorn acknowledges demand is being driven by local tourism, which accounts for up to 70% of bookings. He adds that the Covid-19 situation in target markets such as Germany and Scandinavia could threaten the recovery of international tourism in the province.

Meanwhile, Charintip Tiyaphorn from the Tourism Council of Krabi says things are also looking up in the southern province during the end of year holiday period, with an increase in direct flights. Finnair is one of the carriers bringing long-stay foreign visitors, with plans to lay on 20 flights this month, following completion of the airport’s terminal expansion. Charintip says average occupancy in the province is expected to increase to up to 50% over the festive season.

In addition to European flights, the Bangkok Post reports that tourism operators in Krabi are hoping for direct flights from Singapore and Malaysia. These were supposed to resume from October 31, but a new surge in Covid infections in the neighbouring countries meant the plans had to be postponed.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai, La-Iad Bungsrithong from the northern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association says the absence of direct international flights to the northern province means operators are hoping for tourists connecting from places like Phuket and Bangkok. She too is hoping for a resumption of international flight services from places like Singapore.

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

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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