Ministry of Tourism aims for Bn 8.7bn ‘booster shot’

Ministry of Tourism aims for Bn 8.7bn ‘booster shot’

TAT organized a London double-decker bus, clad in an 'Always Warm' decoration, to provide boarding and alighting services from the London Eye on 5-6 November and 9-12 November, stopping at the most important ones Sights of the capital.

TAT organized a London double-decker bus, clad in an ‘Always Warm’ decoration, to provide boarding and alighting services from the London Eye on 5-6 November and 9-12 November, stopping at the most important ones Sights of the capital.

LONDON: The Department for Tourism and Sport plans to ask Cabinet this month for an 8.7 billion baht budget to support the tourism industry, saying a “booster shot” is needed for Thailand to turn 18-by next year attracts 20 million tourists.

Of the total budget, 7.2 billion baht would be allocated to the fifth phase of the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) campaign to boost domestic tourism, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said on the sidelines of the World Travel Market in London.

Another 1.5 billion baht is earmarked for the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) marketing budget, with 1 billion for overseas activities and 500 million for the domestic market.

The TAT has been tasked with wrapping up the details of the so-called “New Year’s gift” package within two weeks for the proposal to be presented to Cabinet on November 28, he said.

“TAT aims to attract at least 18 million visitors next year, but the government’s target is at least 20 million. That’s a conservative forecast compared to the Bank of Thailand’s estimate of 25 to 28 million tourists,” Mr Phiphat said.

“However, with the bleak economic outlook for next year, reaching 20 million visitors, or 80% of the tourism revenue we achieved in 2019, is not an easy task. We must ask for more budget as a refresher is needed to boost tourism in particular domestic travel.”

The ministry also plans to seek Cabinet approval to lift visa requirements for all European visitors and extend stays for tourists from countries/territories eligible for visa waivers. Currently, visitors from some European countries require a visa to come to Thailand.

Effective October 1 this year through March 31, 2023, the length of stay will be extended from 30 days to 45 days for tourists from countries/territories eligible for visa waivers, and to 30 days from 15 days for those eligible for have a visa arrival.

Thailand is now fully reopened to foreign visitors and no longer requires tourists to provide proof of vaccination or ATK test results.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said there were some concerns for the tourism industry this year and next, including limited flight capacity and Europe’s energy crisis, fueled by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Meanwhile, China has maintained strict restrictions on its nationals traveling abroad, although some positive signs have surfaced recently, Mr Yuthasak said.

Starting with a cut in the quarantine period, Beijing is allowing more groups of Chinese to go abroad, including students and people attending company gatherings, he said.

The ministry and TAT hope the mainland will further ease rules on visitors after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok this week.

In 2019, 11 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand.

“Chinese tourists made up 27% of the total foreign visitors to Thailand in 2019. With that market gone, it is difficult for the industry to return to previous levels,” Mr Phiphat said.

“We are trying very hard and hope that China will be reopened to tourism. According to talks with TAT, about 4 million Chinese visitors are expected to visit Thailand next year.”

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