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Thailand tourism looking up, predictions of 1.5 million per month

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PHOTO: Thailand tourism recovering. (via Discover Beyond)

After years of devastation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand looks hopefully toward a resurgence of tourism with the further easing of restrictions starting yesterday. The required Thailand Pass for entry into the country is no longer needed as the restriction was lifted yesterday, with tourism authorities predicting an influx of travellers entering the country as a result.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has hopefully predicted 1.5 million travellers entering Thailand per month during the high season, with 900,000 minimum predicted each month from here on out. When the cumbersome Test & Go programme was discontinued in May, Thailand saw an increase to 400,000 foreign visitors, so the further relaxing of restrictions is hoped to jump-start a post-Covid-19 age of tourism.

The chairman of the Phuket Tourism Council shares in this optimism, saying the end of the Thailand Pass is welcome news for Phuket as well as the rest of the country. He points to many international flights being launched to Phuket, including from India and South Korea, and tourism arrival numbers holding steady between 3000 and 4000 per day despite entering into the low season.

“Entry rules will become more friendly and convenient for tourists. Ease of entry is another factor that will convince them to choose Thailand as their first-choice destination.”

Indian tourists have become a prime focus in the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s scheme to revitalize tourism, with Phuket seeing about 50,000 Indian tourists in May and June and targets set for 200,000 Indian tourists in Phuket by the end of the year. The TAT is working with the Phuket Tourism Council to target 3 Indian cities where they will host a promotional roadshow.

Covid-19 cases have fallen into the single digits in the north, and the governor of Chiang Mai expects tourism to pick up as the local economy recovers. The area has readied meetings and expositions including the Lanna Expo 2022 and an expo by the Federation of Thai Industries. These expositions have helped raise hotel occupancy rates to about 30% according to the Thai Hotel Association’s northern chapter, which hopes to reach 50 to 60% occupancy rates during the high season.

Most of their tourism is still Thai, with 2.8 million domestic tourists in the first 4 months of 2022, but the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Chiang Mai office says that the easing of travel restrictions will bring an influx of international travellers to the popular northern region.

Meanwhile, the expat-favoured area of Hua Hin isn’t looking towards India to boost its tourism, unlike most regions in Thailand now. The seaside town has always been a popular escape from the cold weather of Northern Europe, with up to half of the foreign visitors being Scandinavians who tend to spend several months in the region. The mayor hopes to make Hua Hin a home away from home where people can live and work.

“I aim to turn Hua Hin into a working space for people from around the world. Hua Hin is fully equipped. The sea, sand and sun are on offer. Fresh air blows in from the sea and it is not too far away from Bangkok.

Due to the pandemic, the mayor says there were less than 700 foreigners in the last year down from about 1.2 million in the year before Covid-19. The mayor of Hua Hin announced efforts to revitalize tourism in part with a promotion for golfers, with packages that include golf courses, accommodations, restaurants, spas and wellness activities, and more.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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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