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SATURDAY, December 03, 2022
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Lifting of all Covid-19 regulations will help Thailand's tourism industry recover quickly: Marisa

Lifting of all Covid-19 regulations will help Thailand's tourism industry recover quickly: Marisa

SATURDAY, October 01, 2022

The tourism industry began picking up when the Thailand Pass was scrapped on June 1 and is expected to surge ahead now that all restrictions have been lifted.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotel Association, said recently that room bookings have already improved from 48 per cent to nearly 55 per cent. Meanwhile some hotels – especially five-star properties in the city centre – are boasting of more than 80 per cent occupancy.

However, the occupancy rate for hotels below 3 stars has still not improved, she said.

The hotelier also said that since airlines are scheduling more flights to Thailand for the cool season, it should be easy to achieve the target of 10 million tourists this year. Thailand has already welcomed some 6 million tourists over the past nine months.

Nearly 600,000 international flights are scheduled to land in Thailand each week during the cool season, up from just over 300,000 flights per week during the hot season, she said.

Hence, she added, it will be reasonable to expect up to 1.5 million arrivals per month in the last quarter.

Lifting of all Covid-19 regulations will help Thailand's tourism industry recover quickly: Marisa

The opening up of several countries, such as Japan and South Korea, will also contribute to the increase in arrivals, she added.

Marisa added that the scrapping of Covid-19 rules from October 1 will also attract more tourists from Europe, Scandinavia and Russia during the high season. The reason for this is more flights and easing of restrictions on face masks.

The target of 10 million foreign tourists is still low compared to the arrivals in 2019, which stood at around 40 million tourists and an occupancy rate of around 70 per cent.

Hotel occupancy dropped to 30 per cent after the arrival of Covid-19 in March 2020 and further to 3 per cent the following year due to lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Lifting of all Covid-19 regulations will help Thailand's tourism industry recover quickly: Marisa

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakan said the tourism industry first started showing signs of recovery when the Phuket Sandbox was introduced on July 1, 2021.

He added that the industry should be able to easily generate 1.28 trillion baht in revenue this year, especially if the country can welcome some 1.5 million tourists every month in the fourth quarter and if domestic travellers rise to 160 million.

He also speculated that China’s President Xi Jinping will possibly lift his zero-Covid policy once he is re-elected as leader of the Communist Party on October 20.

The minister also pointed out that since Xi is arriving in November to attend the Apec summit, he may allow other Chinese citizens to start travelling abroad from December.

If China allows citizens to travel overseas, then Phiphat reckons at least 1.5 million arrivals will come from the mainland alone. This will bump this year’s total arrivals to 11.5 million he added.

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