The Association of Thai Travel Agents added its voice to the growing crowd of tourism industry organizations demanding the government reopen the borders to mass tourism.
ATTA President Wichit Prakobkosol said Nov. 27 that, despite the creation of the Special Tourist Visa and the reintroduction of a single-entry tourist visa, foreign-tourism revenue will total basically zero in November and December.
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“Although during the past few months Thailand started opening the country with specified groups of foreigners, they account for only thousands of tourists per month which cannot compare with the normal situation with average 3.3 million tourists per month,” he said.
The ATTA wants to see borders reopened to “low risk” countries that have controlled their coronavirus outbreaks with visitors not having to endure quarantine.
Wichit suggested those countries be China (22 provinces only), Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Dubai and Macau. Those countries accounted for 15 million of Thailand’s 40 million foreign arrivals and 40 percent of all tourism revenue in 2019.
Doing so is the only way Thailand’s tourism industry will survive, he said. It cannot wait until a vaccine is widely available in the middle of next year.
“If 100,000 tourists come to Thailand per month, the country will have about 50 billion baht a month to drive and support the economy. If we do nothing, we will lose about 35-40 billion baht during the next seven months waiting for the vaccine.”
Wichit complained that many parts of the country’s tourism industry have received no support from the government.
ATTA Vice President Surawat Akaraworamat said the association will make its case to every relevant government ministry and state enterprise.