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Thai aviation sector calls for visa waiver for international travellers

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Lurson (leket) Nateepitak

Thailand’s aviation sector is calling on the government to introduce a visa waiver scheme for international arrivals to boost demand. The Airlines Association of Thailand says global competition for tourists is getting tough and the government needs to do more to attract international visitors.

“We are in a fierce competition as every country needs tourists to cushion the economic impact. Further loosening of restrictions will help enhance our competitiveness.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, the president of the AAT and head of Bangkok Airways says the government needs to look at the costs associated with travel to Thailand. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth says reducing the cost of PCR testing and visa fees, along with a further easing of entry restrictions, would help to increase demand for Thai holidays.

In particular, Puttipong believes a visa waiver scheme would boost foreign tourist numbers and help the country achieve its goal of 10 million visitors in 2022. He also wants the current waiting period for test results under the Test and Go entry scheme to be reduced. He believes the aviation sector in Thailand will only recover to between 20 and 30% of pre-pandemic levels and that the industry could require support measures for up to 2 years.

Nuntaporn Komonsittivate from Thai Lion Air says the onus is also on the government to get the virus under control in order to increase tourist confidence and allow for travel bubbles. Right now, she says demand is weak due to many tourists having to quarantine on their return home from Thailand.

Since the start of the pandemic, a number of Thai airlines have been forced to diversify their offering in order to stay afloat. Thai AirAsia has sought to make extra money from cargo and digital services via the carrier’s SuperApp. Thai Airways has also turned to cargo flights, as well as repatriation services during the 2020 border closure.

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

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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