Tourism officials not bothered by US advice to citizens to avoid travel to Thailand
Tourism officials have shrugged off a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notice which advised citizens to avoid travel to Thailand. Earlier this week, the US CDC added Thailand to its list of Level 4 countries, due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation in the kingdom. However, Yuthasak Supasorn from the Tourism Authority of Thailand says that won’t make much of a difference to an already weakened sector.
According to a Bangkok Post report, Yuthasak says the advisory is the same as that issued last year when Thailand’s infections peaked at over 20,000 cases a day. He doesn’t believe the move will have a significant impact on people’s decision to travel, adding that rising inflation and the increase in travel costs due to surging oil prices are more likely to affect international tourism. He admits that numbers may end up 30% below the TAT’s target of 338,645 foreign tourists expected in the first quarter of the year.
In related news, TAT officials met yesterday with representatives from the private sectors of Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, and Pattaya to discuss the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The meeting followed a Cabinet decision on Tuesday to task the tourism ministry with identifying Ukrainian and Russian tourists in need of assistance.
According to the ministry, there are around 20,000 Russians in Thailand, but only around 6,577 are tourists. The remainder are understood to be long-term residents with businesses or families here, who may not need assistance.
Yuthasak says Ukrainian and Russian tourists who need help should first register at their embassies. They will then be categorised into 3 groups, based on whether they wish to return home, they are having problems making financial transactions, or they require humanitarian assistance. Yuthasak adds that the previously discussed free visa extension will not be available to all, but will be offered to those experiencing difficulties trying to get home.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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