SUNDAY, February 25, 2024
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Omicron variant has yet to impact tourism: TAT

Omicron variant has yet to impact tourism: TAT

There is currently no sign of a slowdown in the number of foreign visitors entering Thailand after 17 tourist provinces were reopened on November 1, despite the recent discovery of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Tuesday.

Omicron, which was dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week, is a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus strain, and Thailand and other countries have in recent days restricted travel from southern Africa, where the strain was first detected.

“It has been one month since the government reopened selected tourist provinces to vaccinated foreign visitors. More than 300,000 foreigners have applied for the Thailand Pass to enter the country under this scheme,” TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said.

“About 100,000 foreigners entered Thailand in November alone, which roughly equalled the number of total foreign visitors entering Thailand in the first ten months of 2021,” he said.

Omicron variant has yet to impact tourism: TAT

“Despite the news about the Omicron variant, the number of visitors is still showing an increasing trend,” Yuthasak said.

“We expect that visitors in the last two months of 2021 could exceed 400,000, bringing total visitors throughout the year to about half a million.”

Yuthasak also said the number of foreign visitors from some European countries has dipped, but it is unlikely to relate to Omicron concerns.

“Travellers from these countries could have postponed their visit to Thailand as their countries are reimposing lockdown measures in response to the re-emergence of a Covid-19 wave in their areas,” he said.

“Many targeted European countries, such as Germany, still show a high number of flight reservations to Thailand,” he added.

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