Thailand is opening for business

It has targeted 10 million international tourists by the end of the year

The Thai government had one of the strictest epidemic-related requirements for entry into its country: previously, an RT-PCR test was required upon arrival in the country, and the results had to be waited in a hotel, and the second test was performed five times. Days later, as well as applying for a Thailand pass.

Things are getting loose now.

On April 21, Thailand’s Deputy Governor for International Marketing for Asia and South Pacific Tennis Petsuwan announced that “from May 1, the RT-PCR test (requirement) will be lifted in Thailand.” An antigen test is enough, and will still be needed to get a Thailand pass. “Then you can go to Thailand.” He added that he hopes that in the next two months, the need for a Thailand pass will also be removed.

“Thailand is now open, and we note that by the end of this year, we will probably have set a target of 10 million international tourists,” said Mr Petsuan.

He was speaking at a news conference at the Conrad Hotel, next to the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Manila last week. “We have learned that many countries offer more relaxed restrictions for tourists when they plan to enter each country,” he said.

Mr Petsuwan presented the number of tourists in Thailand before and after the epidemic and explained how they plan to recover tourist arrivals.

He said the tourism industry constitutes 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of their country. In 2019, which he said saw “one of the best performances in the Thai tourism industry,” the country welcomed nearly 40 million international tourists, of whom 500,000 came from the Philippines. In the two years since the epidemic, it has dropped by almost 80%. On the other hand, its data shows that from the first quarter of 2022, there were approximately 500,000 tourist arrivals, with visitors from the United Kingdom and Germany topping the list at 55,000 and 51,000, respectively. The Philippines added a total of 5,000 tourists in Q1 (first quarter).

To reach the target of 10 million tourists, Thailand is promoting new spots and tapping new markets in addition to its infrastructural efforts.

“Over the last two years, we’ve seen a lot of infrastructure … a lot of galleries, restaurants (open),” said Mr. Petsuan.

Bangkok has seen the opening of the Grand Railway Station, which will connect Bangkok with the rest of the country, as well as a new underpass for the Grand Palace (the walkway was built keeping in mind the crowds at the tourist spot with Covid-19 in mind). Mr Petsuwan also spoke of building a new expressway that would connect Bangkok to more rural areas.

To tap new markets, he said, “What we’re focusing on is the new generation: digital migration.”

Work-from-home (or anywhere) arrangements were normalized during the epidemic, and facilities such as co-workplaces became more visible.

In a fact sheet given to the media, other segments they plan to tap include “Blizzard” (business and leisure), Millennium and LGBTQ.

“New potential market areas will be set up to attract quality segments (such as the island of Luzon in the Philippines), and to find new partners in the market, especially corporate or stimulus groups,” says Fact Sheet.

“We have already announced that this is going to be the year of the Thailand tour again,” said Mr Petsuan. “This year, you’ll see … new names for Thai tourist destinations hit the market.” – Joseph L. Garcia

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