Three core strategies to kickstart Thai tourism this year
A leading business scholar has outlined three core strategies for reopening Thailand in the third quarter this year.
Assoc Prof Nattavud Pimpa, an international business and diversity management scholar at the College of Management Mahidol University (CMMU), advises the following three-pronged strategy as the country prepares to relaunch the tourism industry:
1. Promoting domestic tourism
2. Connecting Asean tourism via the Digital Roadmap
3. Building confidence in local and international tourists
Prof Nattavud is urging organisations nationwide to join hands with the government in strengthening the country under this strategic plan.
Meanwhile, easy and equitable access to vaccination would fuel restoration of the tourism industry and other sectors vital to Thailand’s economic recovery, he adds.
“The pandemic is far from over. Accumulated infections are rising and the fourth wave of the outbreak is likely to take shape. However, the government has a policy to reopen the country as part of its economic recovery effort. Therefore, to restore confidence in people and tourists, the national strategy has to be adjusted urgently to regain the country’s strength.”
Nattavud proposes the following strategy plan:
Promoting domestic tourism
Completing the vaccination programme means more locals and foreign visitors would be able to travel with confidence and continue their daily activities. As a result, the country could set a strategy to stimulate domestic consumption and tourism in various forms. These include waiving quarantine for cross-provincial travel or allowing tourists to use travel passports (with full-vaccination status or fit-to-travel medical certificate) as an alternative to quarantine. Fully vaccinated travellers could also receive special discounts on airfares and hotel accommodation, for instance, when travelling to key cities where full vaccination is required. This would stimulate the circular flow of income within local communities leading to benefits for the provincial and national economies.
Connecting Asean through a Digital Roadmap
When the Covid-19 situation in Thailand improves, the country would be wise to promote regional tourism. It should start with a city-to-city model rather than country-to-country cooperation, as the latter is more difficult to control. For better collaboration, each city should be well-informed about the travel requirements – a complete guide that helps bolster confidence in tourists and foreign investors – through the use of a Digital Roadmap.
The Digital Roadmap approach will drive Asean tourism by exploiting online tools like Digital Tourist, a system that uses digital vaccine passports to create a tourist information repository that gives relevant agencies in partner countries the ability to track and verify travel history, health records, vaccination status, etc.
Instilling confidence in locals and foreign tourists
By using innovations and effective communication, the economy can be driven with confidence via international tourists and Thai residents alike. Innovations can simplify the complexity of interpersonal communication in a specific city or country and then ensure safety, convenience and clarity in communication while travelling.
Regarding vaccination, in particular, things to be considered include the efficacy of each alternative vaccine, the plan for importing and allocating enough vaccines to meet domestic demand. Importantly, vaccination needs to reach the herd immunity threshold of around 70 per cent of the population by the end of 2021.
The charter of the World Health Organisation (1946) stipulates cooperation between all governments globally to ensure the health rights of all people. The charter also establishes governments’ responsibilities to offer international assistance and cooperation for access to essential health services.
“Therefore, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines must be distributed to regions across the world in an equitable manner to strengthen the immunity of the people and for national security. Remember, promoting easy access to vaccination is a low-cost investment. When everyone gets a full course of timely vaccination, it will help strengthen the foundation for human well-being and then drive businesses while revitalising the economy, locally and internationally, in the long term and in a sustainable way. Simply said, everyone has the right to equitable access to vaccination,” concluded Nattavud.