Thai AirAsia X sets sights on Kazakhstan: New route sparks tourism frenzy

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

In a bold move set to revolutionise travel, Thai AirAsia X is gearing up to launch direct flights between Bangkok and Almaty, the thriving heart of Kazakhstan.

Riding high on the unprecedented influx of tourists from Kazakhstan this year, the airline, under the visionary leadership of Tassapon Bijleveld, the executive chairman of Asia Aviation, the holding company of Thai AirAsia, is eyeing a major expansion with plans to add three aircraft to its fleet by 2024.

“It’s quite certain we will operate direct flights between Thailand and Kazakhstan, which has strong potential in terms of tourism.”

The surge in arrivals from Kazakhstan, exceeding targets thanks to Thailand’s visa-free policy, has sparked this aviation ambition. As of December 11, a staggering 154,015 tourists from Kazakhstan had visited Thailand this year, a remarkable leap from last year’s 59,620 arrivals, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Thai AirAsia X plans not only to bring more Kazakh tourists to Thailand but also to entice Thais to explore the charms of Kazakhstan, an untapped destination with a cooler climate and intriguing attractions.

With the Thai government granting visa-free entry to Chinese and Kazakh travellers until February 29 next year, the airline aims to capitalize on this golden opportunity to further boost tourism between the two nations.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT deputy governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, noted that only one airline, Air Astana, has been facilitating direct flights between Kazakhstan and Thailand. The demand has been so robust that most flights are fully booked.

Thai AirAsia X’s expansion plans don’t stop at Kazakhstan. Tassapon revealed the airline’s interest in exploring new markets, particularly in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, which witnessed steady growth this year, reported Bangkok Post.

While the Chinese market has proven sluggish, affecting plans for a new route to Beijing and leading to reduced flights to Shanghai, Thai AirAsia X remains optimistic about its overall prospects. The airline is adjusting to the changing dynamics of the tourism industry, focusing on domestic routes to mitigate risks associated with the global economic downturn and geopolitical uncertainties.

“The government should pay more attention to domestic tourism as self-dependent tourism will be an upcoming trend next year amid the volatile situation globally.”

Aviation NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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