Tourism in Thailand is slowly returning, still a long road ahead

FILE PHOTO: Tourism in Thailand still has a long way to go.

Though the government’s expected flood of tourists entering Thailand since the reopening 2 weeks ago has been closer to a trickle, businesses are seeing a bit of an uptick in tourism. Still, they are calling on the government to loosen Covid-19 restrictions and asking for federal financial programs to be extended and expanded to help speed recovery.

The president of the Thai Hotels Association says that advanced bookings for next month and January are up, and that tour operators have promoted Thailand with reopening packages to encourage people to make their holiday plans in the country, but success is still hampered by the complexity of the various reentry programs, with travellers struggling with the Thailand Pass, different forms of quarantine ranging from 1 day while waiting for test results for Test & Go travellers, 7-day soft quarantines where tourists can move freely around Sandbox areas, and full isolation for 7 or 10 days in the Happy Quarantine scheme.

Not only are the entry procedures an obstacle, but with Thailand still seeing over 7,000 new Covid-19 infections per day, it is still considered a high-risk destination for many countries, where travellers would have to quarantine upon returning home for a visit. The association president said the government needs to negotiate with countries to remove Thailand from the list of destinations that require quarantine upon return.

Domestically, the government needs to extend programs like “Travel Around Thailand” and “We Travel Together” that help subsidise domestic travellers’ holidays. It can also offer soft loans and reduce taxes and utility rates to help struggling tourism businesses stay afloat and lower their cost of operations.

The association president says that both the public and private sectors have their work cut out for them to help shape the future of tourism in Thailand. In the present, health and safety standards like the SHA and SHA+ programs must remain vigilant to ward off outbreaks of Covid-19 in the tourism sector and create confidence for travellers.

She encourages everyone to work together on a development strategy to shape a new tourism climate for Thailand in the future, one that incorporates environmental awareness and helps narrow income gaps while operating with a policy of fair competition.

For tourism updates around the country and in the air, see our articles on flights, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Neill Fronde

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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