Tourism Council of Thailand calls for Thailand Pass to be ditched from June

PHOTO: PR Bangkok

The Thailand Pass should be done away with from June if the country is to have any hope of attracting 10 million foreign tourists this year. That’s the view of the Tourism Council of Thailand, whose vice-president, Vichit Prakobgosol, says ditching the onerous paperwork could bring in an extra 2 million tour group visitors.

According to Vichit, even with additional restrictions being eased from May 1, the Thailand Pass application process still prevents tour operators from bringing more tour groups to the kingdom, due to the time-consuming process of registering each person individually.

The Bangkok Post reports that Vichit believes scrapping the Thailand Pass from June 1 would mean Thailand could almost certainly see 10 million overseas arrivals this year. He adds that the number could even reach 12 million if China eases restrictions on outbound travel for its citizens. However, he says this will depend on the Chinese authorities and whether they stick to the zero-Covid strategy currently being pursued.

Vichit is urging the Thai government to remove the Thailand Pass by June in order to allow tour operators to take advantage of the summer break in July.

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“July is summer break for the short-haul market because families will plan overseas trips, particularly to celebrate after university entrance examinations, so Thailand has to prepare in advance to capture this opportunity.”

The TCT is also confident that getting rid of the Thailand Pass would help boost cross-border tourism between Malaysia and the southern airport of Betong, in Yala province. Nok Air is now set to resume flights between Bangkok and Betong from April 29 after they were suspended last month, less than 24 hours after the airport’s grand opening.

The reason given at the time was low demand, but Vichit says Betong tour package bookings for May have now reached 70%. The TCT has described this as a promising start but says operators must now wait to see what the situation looks like for June and July.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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