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Thailand tourism officials aim for 5 million foreign arrivals this year

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Stock photo by Suhyeon Choi for Unsplash

Thailand tourism officials are shooting for a goal of 5 million international arrivals this year. That may sound like a lot, but it’s half of the original forecast predicted for this year before the new wave of Covid-19 infections and a far cry from the roughly 40 million visitors welcomed to Thailand in 2019.

Tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says Thailand needs to gain confidence between China, India and Malaysia to make sure tourists feel comfortable visiting Thailand. Tourists from China, India and Malaysia made up 40% of the 39.8 million arrivals in 2019.

“If we can attract 5 million tourists this year under the current circumstances, that would be a success… The number of travellers from long-haul destinations would be insufficient to reach the goal of 10 million arrivals.”

The Public Health Ministry is working on a Covid-19 “vaccine passport” which would be on a smartphone application or a smart card. Phiphat says that once the scheme is ready, tourists with the vaccine passport will be able to enter Thailand.

With Thailand’s mass Covid-19 immunisation plan expected to start within the next month, Phiphat says the ministry plans to talk with the prime minister and the Public Health about including tourism workers in the first round of vaccinations.

The first group to be vaccinated are frontline health care workers and people over 60 who live in areas classified as the highest risk of infection. Phiphat says people who work in the tourism industry should also be included in the first priority group. The Tourism and Sports Ministry is also urging the prime minister to allocate 5 million doses to cover 2.5 million people in the tourism industry.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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