Connect with us

Tourism

Thailand’s focus on wealthy tourists won’t benefit small business

Neill Fronde

Published

 on 

FILE PHOTO: Thailand's focus on wealthy tourists won't benefit small businesses.
image
image

With the November 1 reopening, the government has not been looking to welcome back any and all travellers that want to come to Thailand. Instead, they’ve been narrowly focused on attracting the “right” tourists, attempting to lure wealthy investors and retirees to dump money into Thailand, while often brushing aside the moderate and budget tourists that have for years been the backbone of Thailand’s tourism industry.

The proposed long-term visa package is aimed directly at just 4 types of travellers:

  1. Wealthy international tourists with assets in multiple countries worth at least US $1 million who must invest at least US$500,000 (16.5 million baht) in government bonds.
  2. Wealthy pensioners over 50, who’ll need a big enough pension fund to cover their living costs in Thailand and who must invest at least US$250,000 in government bonds.
  3. Digital nomads or employees of high-value foreign companies who want to work remotely from Thailand.
  4. Highly-skilled professionals coming to work as experts in selected industries.

Minister of Energy Supattanapong Punmeechaow even explicitly stated that instead of trying to attract 40 million travellers like the pre-Covid-19 tourism numbers, they aim to draw just 1 million big spenders who they believe will generate the same revenue. In 2019, 11.4% of the GDP was from tourism, about 2 trillion baht, meaning the new government plan expects each of these high-roller tourists to spend about 2 million baht on their holiday or living time in Thailand.

But many business owners are frustrated and angry at being abandoned by the government’s lofty scheme, where luxury and wealthy businesses could flourish, but all businesses that cater to mid-range and budget travellers will see virtually no income. A focus on high-end tourists will bring money to chains and wealthy properties, but will do little, if anything, to stimulate the economy for the average Thai person or business.

Bali recently announced similar intentions of banning backpackers as they reopen in an attempt at a tourism makeover to attract higher-spending tourists. Moves like this in Indonesia and Thailand may be setting up a tourism boom for countries like Cambodia, where the population is nearing 80% vaccination rate, far more than Thailand’s 38%, who could potentially welcome with open arms the millions of backpackers and budget travellers that have been the bread and butter of Southeast Asian tourism for years.

Still, many governments are looking at the Covid-19 pandemic as a reset button, a chance to start over and reshape their image and reputation like a kid’s first day at a new school in a new town. But with countries worldwide reopening, and a lot of negative opinions on the complicated reentry procedure for tourists to get into Thailand, now may not be the time for beggers to be choosers.

Many point out that the idea that a smaller number but higher quality of tourists will benefit the environment, like the Energy Minister implied, wealthy tourists do much more damage to the environment with luxury accommodations and transportation eating far more water and resources than backpackers sharing buses and dorms.

High-end tourists enjoying cocktails and meals at their resort also put much less money into local economies, whereas budget travellers tend to shop in local markets and dine in local restaurants, contributing directly to small and medium enterprises who have suffered most from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many in the tourism industry are eagerly anticipating the regrowth of the international tourism industry, but wish the government would stop focusing on wealthy travellers that don’t necessarily benefit the local economy and start focusing on casting a wide net to attract the most number of tourists of all demographics.

SOURCE: Straits Times

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

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand4 hours ago

“Sandbox” stay shortened to 5 days for vaccinated travellers from overseas

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Quarantine requirements in Thailand relaxed, Vocal expat deported | Nov 29

Bangkok6 hours ago

Renovation of Hua Lamphong may wait another three years: BMA

Sponsored11 hours ago

Siam Seaplane makes getting to your destination so much easier

advertiseadvertise
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 4,753 new cases; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Thai officials mull over testing methods for arrivals following Omicron emergence

Video7 hours ago

Most visited city in Thailand, Bigger isn’t better, Natty cross-eyed? | Thaiger Bites | Ep.69

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok8 hours ago

Alcohol sales at Bangkok restaurants allowed until 11pm starting Wednesday

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

UPDATE: What we know about “Omicron,” new travel restrictions to Thailand

Road deaths8 hours ago

Thai man dies by flurry of bullets while going to get 2nd Covid shot

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Japan suspends foreign visitors from entering as Omicron variant spreads

Phuket9 hours ago

Phuket gets approval for all-nighter New Year’s Eve party

Bangkok9 hours ago

Police seize 36,000 fake US$100 bills and printing machines in a series of raids

Bangkok11 hours ago

Bangkok police say restaurateurs could face jail time for serving alcohol after 9pm

Crime11 hours ago

Survey reveals most respondents oppose legalising pornography in Thailand

Malaysia11 hours ago

Singapore and Malaysia reopen shared land border today

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending