A plea has been lodged by the Tourism Association of Phatthalung to the government, urging for the removal of restrictions that prevent Malaysian buses from entering Thailand‘s southern provinces. The goal is to revitalise local tourism, currently experiencing a lull due to these limitations.
Jarun Kaewjeesub, the president of the Tourism Association of Phatthalung, declared that a separate letter will be delivered directly to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Minister of Tourism and Sports Sudawan Wangsupakitkosol during their imminent inspection tour of the South.
The association’s open letter centres on a request for the prime minister to consider the revocation of an order that curtails the access of foreign buses, predominantly from Malaysia, into the southern province of Songkhla.
This order, issued on July 18, 2014, by the now-disbanded National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), stipulates that foreign bus operators intending to visit areas outside the province must submit their passenger and bus details to the Songkhla Provincial Land Transport Office beforehand, reported Bangkok Post.
Furthermore, the order permits foreign buses to enter Songkhla only if they are carrying tourists. Those without passengers are prohibited from crossing the border into Thailand.
According to the open letter, this order has negatively impacted local tourism in the southern region. The inability of Malaysian tourist buses to freely navigate to provinces neighbouring Songkhla, including Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Satun, Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga, and Surat Thani, has led to a severe decrease in tourist numbers.
Jarun noted that since 2014, arrivals from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have significantly dwindled, resulting in the region losing hundreds of millions of baht each year.
In addition, the Tourism Association has requested the Immigration Bureau to supply more TM 6 immigration forms to tour groups.
Currently, each tour group is allocated 9-10 forms, which is insufficient as a single tour group can often comprise over 100 tourists. Despite discussions with various agencies, little to no progress has been reported, Jarun revealed.
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