Chiang Mai tourism will suffer from Test & Go suspension, tour operator bemoans
Many foreign tourists have cancelled their trips to Chiang Mai scheduled from January to February next year after the government suspended the Test & Go scheme, said Prasit Itthipattanakul, vice president of Standard Tour, a local tour operator.
Under the Test & Go scheme, registrants of the Thailand Pass programme could enter Thailand without having to quarantine provided they tested negative via the RT-PCR method upon arrival. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced on Tuesday that tourists cannot register for entry via Thailand Pass after Wednesday and that it would re-evaluate the situation on January 4 because of Covid-19 Omicron worries.
“Tourists who cancelled their trips are mostly Asians, especially from Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia,” Prasit said during an interview on Wednesday.
“In the past two years there have been almost no foreign visitors entering Chiang Mai until after the government announced the reopening of selected provinces on November 1,” he pointed out. “While the number of foreign visitors is starting to recover, the suspension of the Test & Go scheme will be a serious blow to Chiang Mai’s tourism industry.”
Meanwhile, Chiang Mai Tourism Industry Council president Phanlop Saejew said the suspension of Test & Go has yet to show an immediate effect on the province’s tourism industry as there are still approximately 200,000 incoming tourists who have already been approved under Thailand Pass.
“However, after these tourists head back home we could start seeing the impact as there would be no new tourists entering the province,” he said.
“This also depends on how long the suspension will last, which we will only know after January 4.”
Phanlop said Chiang Mai International Airport is currently logging about 14,000 passengers per day, most of whom are Thais.
“If this trend continues for two more months, the tourism industry in the province should start to recover. We expect that tourism revenue in December could reach THB3 billion,” he added.