Aid planned for virus-affected tour operators


BANGKOK  — The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) discussed the impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak on tourism and planned assistance for affected operators.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn had the discussion with representatives of airlines, the Thai Hotels Association, the Association of Thai Travel Agents, and the Tourism Council of Thailand at the TAT head office.

After the meeting, he said that the Chinese government’s decision to ban the outbound traffic of Chinese tour groups caused the complete cancellation of hotel reservations by Chinese tour groups and the reservations by independent Chinese travelers were halved. The TAT governor predicted the number of Chinese arrivals would fall by 1.89-2.0 million.

Mr Yuthasak said TAT would try to woo tourists from other markets instead, for example, from Southeast Asian nations, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the United States and Canada. He said the alternative markets had potential.

Besides, TAT would ask the Finance Ministry to cut fuel tax for airlines, offer soft loans to affected operators, reduce the passenger facility charge for visitors from the alternative markets, extend visa-on-arrival fee exemption for visitors from India, Russia and China to the end of this year.
Mr Yuthasak would propose the measures to the cabinet on Jan 31.

He still believed that Thailand would welcome 40.78 million visitors and generate 2.03 trillion baht, up 5% year-on-year, from their arrivals this year as earlier expected. He estimated the overall tourism-related income at 3.16 trillion baht.