ATTA doubts efficacy of free visa plan for Chinese tourists

Photo: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) has expressed scepticism about a government proposal to offer free visas to Chinese tourists as a means of stimulating demand. ATTA cites economic difficulties and a weak currency as challenges that could render this initiative ineffectual, particularly in the face of flight and staff shortages.

The Federation of Thai Tourism Associations and the Tourism Authority of Thailand is currently preparing a white paper to present to the premier and Cabinet, detailing urgent issues, such as enhancing tourist attraction and reinforcing Thailand’s image as a safe travel destination.

ATTA President Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn highlighted the need for solutions to attract more tourists. Meanwhile, Adith Chairattananon, ATTA’s honorary secretary-general, outlined two potential strategies for the Chinese visa policy: a visa-free entry for Chinese tourists for a period of three to six months, or waiving the visa fee but still requiring a visa application. The latter is deemed more appropriate from a security standpoint.

Adith believes that either approach could incentivise Chinese tourists who travel via neighbouring countries and use visa-on-arrival, including groups of 100 to 1,000 travellers. However, the visa policy alone may not be sufficient to stimulate the market, given that many Chinese travel companies are still recovering from a lack of workers and increased operating costs.

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Despite the optimism of Chinese travel agents regarding the new government’s policies, they are awaiting clearer information about tourism measures, particularly those related to visas. Adith pointed out that the demand among Chinese tourists to visit Thailand is currently tepid, partly due to economic pressures and the weak yuan. Negative perceptions of Thailand circulating on Chinese social media, particularly concerning safety, have also deterred potential travellers, reported Bangkok Post.

Adith urged the government to implement relevant tourism policies, such as increasing flight capacity, and to expedite this process before mid-September to boost Chinese tourists to five million by the end of the year. However, he cautioned that recruiting more staff and increasing flight capacity to Thailand will take time to return to normal levels.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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