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The Tourism Authority of Thailand wants to revive the East Asian market

If the countries of Southeast Asia are reopening their doors to tourism, this is not the case for certain countries of East Asia, which does not discourage Thailand.

While many destinations are easing travel conditions to welcome a new flow of tourists after two years of fighting the pandemic, some East Asian countries remain vigilant with strict arrival rules.

To ensure Thailand remains a top destination for visitors from East Asia and prepare for further easing of travel restrictions, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) continues to seek opportunities to support the recovery. .

Important countries for tourism in Thailand remain closed

Kanokkittika Kritwutikon, director of the TAT’s office in Chengdu, China, said strict border controls and preventive measures for domestic travel, under Beijing’s “zero Covid” policy, will continue for the time being. , including Chengdu, which will host the World University Games in June.

Hong Kong maintains strict quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated visitors, with those accompanied by children aged 11 or younger only permitted to be released on the seventh day after arrival, followed by self-monitoring for seven days, Naparat said. Vudhivad, director of the Hong Kong office of the TAT.

The main hurdle is the lack of air travel, with the Hong Kong government imposing a temporary ban on any airline carrying a minimum of three passengers who test positive.

Bangkok Airways hopes to resume the Koh Samui-Hong Kong route by the end of the year, while Greater Bay Airlines plans to relaunch its Hong Kong-Bangkok route in the third quarter.

Seksan Sripraiwan, director of the TAT’s Tokyo office, said international flights have not fully resumed as leisure travelers are still not allowed to travel to Japan.

Currently, each flight is limited to only 80% capacity due to social distancing rules.

The number of Japanese visitors to Thailand in the first four months of 2022 remained low, averaging 3,000 to 5,000 per month.

According to the authority’s baseline scenario, the number of Japanese tourists is expected to reach 35,000-40,000 this year, although the situation could improve if there is further relaxation of travel rules on both sides.

Mr Seksan said if Japan relaxes its travel rules in July and August, Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket can expect to attract more travelers from that market.

Attract those who can travel

Digital nomad by the pool. Photo: Peggy Marco

He said the Tokyo office wants to attract groups who can travel despite existing regulations, especially business and leisure groups who have to attend to their businesses or factories in Thailand, in addition to golfers, which represent a market of 20 million people.

Another target is the youth segment, including those participating in educational exchange programs as well as wealthy young adults who are willing to pay for luxury goods.

Mr Seksan said the trend towards remote working has accelerated, with the Japanese having around 20 million digital nomads.

Thailand should be able to attract many of them to travel while working, he added.

Tax benefits and other incentives are the main draws for remote workers, as people who work remotely from other countries can pay a personal income tax rate of 30%, compared to 50% in Japan.

Mr Seksan said the Tokyo office would launch a “blecation campaign” combining business, leisure and vacation to attract businesses and independent tourists.

Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya are the main destinations, with connections to Krabi and Trang for meetings and incentives.

At the same time, Ms. Kanokkittika said the TAT China office is targeting three segments:

  1. business travellers,
  2. Medical tourists interested in wellness and in vitro fertilization packages,
  3. Students who wish to enroll in business, tourism and finance programs in Thailand.

“We need to erase the impression of typical large Chinese groups that were seen during the pre-Covid period because only tourists with high purchasing power can travel abroad today due to higher costs,” she said.

The student segment has growth potential as on-site programs in Thailand can continue.

The TAT has conducted joint promotions with universities that have offices in Chengdu, such as Rangsit University and the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, as well as partner airlines to bring in more students.

Ms Kanokkittika said the TAT helped 500 Chinese students in March, while at least 2,000 students are expected to arrive next year based on more than 10,000 students already enrolled in universities.

As Hong Kong travelers are heavily influenced by celebrities and social media, TAT will promote Thailand through online content from key opinion leaders, local media and online travel agencies , said Ms. Naparat.

TAT plans to attend the Hong Kong International Travel Fair from August 18-21.


Source: Bangkok Post

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