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What will the upcoming “high season” look like in Thailand this year?


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What will the upcoming “high season” look like in Thailand this year?

Two weeks after the country reopens, the private sector is seeing signs of a pick-up in tourism despite fewer international tourists.

To help insolvent operators get back on their feet, companies are calling on the Thai government to relax eligibility requirements, further relax Covid19 restrictions and introduce financial packages to boost the industry.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said there were positive signs after the reopening on November 1, and hotel bookings should increase in December and January.

She said tour operators had put together promotional campaigns and special packages to bring in much-needed funds while clarifying entry rules for “Test & Go”, sandboxes and mandatory quarantine programs.

However, she raised concerns with tourism companies about the quarantine requirements that foreign guests must comply with when they return from their holiday here.

For some countries, Thailand remains a high-risk country and people are reluctant to vacation abroad if they have to quarantine after returning to their home country, she said.

Marisa urged the government to hold talks with countries that send tourists here to ease quarantine restrictions. Without mandatory home quarantine, these tourists would be more likely to view Thailand as a travel destination, she said.

The government needs to take further action to help the hotel and travel sector get back to work, she said.

These include expanding grant programs such as “We Travel Together” and “Travel Around Thailand” to boost local tourism, reduce costs through tax and utility cuts, and provide low-interest loans to businesses.

Marisa said that tourism has many levels and that the private and public sectors need to work out a comprehensive tourism development strategy.

Fair competition, health and safety standards, environmental awareness and using tourism to reduce income inequality are among the challenges facing the sector, she said.

“Thailand is the first country in ASEAN to reopen its borders without quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers…with programs to keep infections down.”

Rattanachai Suttidechanai, president of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association, said the resort’s tourist businesses are coming back to life after the dark days of restrictions.

Hotels for upcoming events such as Loy Krathong next weekend and an international fireworks festival next weekend are well booked.

However, according to Rattanachai, about 80% of arrivals in Pattaya are local tourists. Most foreigners are ex-pats who have Thai families here and who pass through the “Test & Go” program to avoid quarantine.

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