Thailand reveals tourism strategy to beat Covid at World Economic Forum
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith revealed Thailand’s successful formula for reopening the country to tourists while preventing the spread of Covid-19, at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday.
Arkhom was speaking at the "Travelling Again, Differently" seminar hosted by CNN’s Richard Quest during the annual four-day forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Arkhom told Quest that Thailand had launched the Phuket Sandbox as early as July 2021, to pilot the reopening of borders to international visitors in a controlled area.
The tight restrictions were gradually lifted as the pandemic receded, allowing larger numbers of foreign tourists to enter the country.
Meanwhile, the government supported the tourism sector with subsidies to boost domestic travel, and promoted tourism in secondary provinces to distribute income to small businesses and local communities.
Arkhom also highlighted Thailand’s “5F strategy” of Food, Fashion, Festival, Fighting, and Film. The strategy is designed to lure tourists to other provinces and reduce crowding in major cities. Tourism infrastructure has been prepared in these areas, especially facilities targeted at retiree travellers who have high spending power, he said.
Arkhom mentioned that Thailand is also considering measures to promote the use of sustainable aviation fuel to fulfil the country’s environmental goals.
Also joining the session were Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board; John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited; and Jeffrey Katz, CEO of Journera, a travel technology platform.
The World Economic Forum runs until Friday.