Thailand’s first Omicron case will have little short-term impact on tourism: TAT


The discovery of Thailand’s first Omicron case last week has yet to hurt the tourism industry, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Monday.

“Early detection only proves that Thailand’s screening and disease control measures are effective,” said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn. “Besides, there is currently no definitive evidence that infections from Omicron variant are worse than infections from other variants of Covid-19.”

Thailand’s first Omicron case was detected in a US national of Thai descent who had arrived from Spain on November 30. The visitor underwent the first Covid-19 test upon arrival, but the second test on December 3 traced the infection down to the Omicron variant.

“We believe the emergence of Omicron in Thailand will not have a short-term impact on tourism, but the long-term effect is yet to be seen,” Yuthasak said.

The governor further added that TAT will continue easing lockdown measures among tourism businesses under government policy, which includes holding New Year countdown events in several locations nationwide.

“Domestic travel is picking up thanks to cool temperatures in the North and Northeast, which is attracting eco-travellers. Meanwhile, the government’s ‘We Travel Together’ subsidy only has 100,000 rights left and should run out in a couple of weeks,” he said.

“In December alone trips taken by local travellers may hit 10 million. We expect total trips taken domestically to reach 90 million this year, roughly the same as the year before.”

As for foreign travellers, TAT hopes to welcome at least 400,000 visitors this year, with some 200,000 recorded from January to November, half of whom entered the country after its November 1 reopening.

“Since December 1, we have recorded around 6,000 foreign arrivals per day, so the number of people entering Thailand this month could eventually reach 200,000,” Yuthasak said.