TAT revises goal to 700,000 international travellers to Thailand in 2021

PHOTO: Thailand aims for 700,000 international travellers in 2021. (via Flickr Doug88888)

Perhaps revising their previous goal of 1 million international tourists in the next 2 months, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is hoping to hit a total of 700,000 international travellers in 2021. Thailand has launched a number of schemes to bring in foreigners during the Covid-19 pandemic to various levels of success so far.

The Phuket Sandbox has been the most successful but has only brought 60,649 visitors in the 4 months between July 1 and October 31. Another 25,000 people arrived in the Samui Plus program, the 7+7 Sandbox Extension, the Special Tourist Visa, the Thailand Privilege Card, Medical Tourism plans, and others for a total of 85,845 people.

Now Thailand has launched its most ambitious project yet, with the November 1 reopening allowing 3 different schemes for tourists to enter the country again. The Test & Go scheme requires only 1-night quarantine as people arrive and test for Covid-19 and only have to stay in an approved hotel for a night while waiting for their negative test results. Living in the Blue Zone allows a 7-day soft quarantine, with tourists free to roam around one of 17 Sandbox destination provinces before being free to travel, and the Happy Quarantine scheme allows unvaccinated travellers to enter with a 10 day full quarantine.

It remains to be seen if the new plan will bring another 615,000 people in the next 2 months, but to achieve that figure an average of 10,000 people per day would need to arrive and the first 2 days of the reopening brought in a few thousand each, Thailand’s main hub of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok seeing just 4,510 arrivals total in the first 2 days.

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Before Covid-19, in 2019, Thailand saw about 40 million international travellers who generated 1.91 trillion baht. But with the 19-month near-complete shutdown of the country with Covid-19, international arrivals fell 83% to just 6.7 million people that brought in only 332 billion baht. And 2021 has seen a drop from 2019 of 99.8%.

The TAT is projecting a huge uptick next year, with both domestic and international travellers ramping up to generate a combined total of 1.58 trillion baht. They predict 818 billion baht of revenue from international travellers and another 771 billion baht from domestic tourists.

A new “Visit Thailand Year 2022” marketing campaign has been launched for the World Travel Market 2021 that took place November 1-3, and the TAT has already followed it with the “Amazing Thailand, Amazing New Chapters” program after PM Prayut Chan-o-cha urged government agencies to promote tourism and sustainability and the government’s Bio-Circular-Green economy model.

They hope to project a positive image of Thailand as it struggles to recover from the economic devastation that battered the country over the last nearly 2 years.

SOURCE: Asia News Today

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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