Op-Ed: Tourism in Thailand

PHOTO: Prachachat

Bangkok-Recent news of China’s reopening of its borders would be music to the ears for Thailand’s tourism industry. 

Prior to the pandemic, a significant proportion of foreign tourists hailed from China. According to CNN, in 2019, more than 25% of Thailand’s foreign tourists were from China.

During the pandemic, as the Chinese government locked the nation’s borders, there were virtually no Chinese tourists visiting Thailand.

The importance of Chinese tourists was underscored as government ministers and officials went to Suvarnabhumi Airport to welcome the first batch of Chinese tourists since China’s reopening of its borders.

Thailand’s Finance Minister predicts that Thailand’s economy will increase by 3.8% in 2023.

Irrefutably, Thailand’s economic recovery would be dependent on tourism.

In order for the tourism industry to prosper, it is paramount to hire more tourism workers, build world-class facilities, and ensure the security of tourists.

It is also noteworthy that Thailand’s tourism industry has won reputable awards in recognition of its tourism standards.

Other than visiting Thailand to view its beautiful temples and beaches, and enjoy its culture and food, medical tourism is growing in popularity.

Other nations’ tourism-related agencies and organizations have also partnered with Thailand to boost tourism in both countries.

During the pandemic, workers quit the travel industry due to a lack of jobs and apprehension about the industry.

Now as the travel industry recovers, there are labor shortages, with many reluctant to return to the industry. The Thai Finance Minister believes that the labor shortage is a problem for the country’s economy.

Hotels and travel-related firms are hiring more staff, in particular Chinese-speaking workers.

For instance, CM Paradise Tour recently employed more Chinese drivers and guides to bring tourists around Chiang Mai’s renowned Doi Suthep temple and nature places.

Suvarnabhumi Airport has improved facilities by operationalizing more check-in counters, opening baggage drop-off facilities earlier, displaying more Chinese signs, and hiring more immigration staff.

There were also language interpreters hired for the Chinese New Year period.

Thailand will construct a 290-billion baht aviation city, transforming the U-Tapao airport into a modernized international airport, which will connect with the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.

The Eastern Economic Corridor Committee secretary-general believes that the U-Tapao airport will attract at least 3 million tourists yearly, contributing 75 billion to 100 billion baht to the economy yearly.

The aviation city will also include an aircraft maintenance and repair center, logistical infrastructure, and tourism facilities.

As tourism visits increased, the Thai Prime Minister requested security agencies to strengthen security measures.

In order to attract tourists, safeguarding the safety of tourists is of paramount importance.

At the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards 2022, the Tourism Authority of Thailand was presented with a Social Empowerment award. The award is given, in recognition of efforts to ensure sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

During the pandemic, the Tourism Authority of Thailand officiated the Phuket Sandbox, a reopening model which helped to attract tourists, while ensuring health requirements were met.

With the success of the Phuket Sandbox, it is hoped that Thailand will be further developed as a global medical hub.

Other than the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards 2022, Thailand also won at the 14th annual Agoda Gold Circle Awards (GCA).

Thailand landed the top spot as it has the most number of hotels receiving GCA awards. Awards are given based on price, service, and value offered.

The Thai Prime Minister also reiterated that winning the top spot is a testament to Thailand’s tourism industry having high adaptability and providing world-class services.

Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) believes that medical tourism in Thailand will prosper with greater governmental support and public awareness about healthcare.

BDMS CEO reiterated at the Bloomberg Business Summit that Thailand has the right business environment to develop its medical tourism sector.

Recently, Thailand’s Cabinet authorized a one-year visa scheme to allow foreigners to enjoy its medical facilities.

Furthermore, Thailand is hoping to host Phuket Expo 2028, where Phuket will be transformed into a medical hub, with top-notch medical facilities.

Recently, the Korea Tourism Organisation and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have both inked a memorandum of understanding to foster greater cooperation in tourism.

Before the pandemic, South Korea was Thailand’s fourth-largest tourism market.

The “2023-2024 Korea-Thailand Mutual Visit Years” drive seeks to improve mutual travel via advertising campaigns, expansion of flights, and leveraging technology.

For instance, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Korean Air signed a memorandum of cooperation to commence more flight routes to Thai cities and provinces.

It is estimated that there will be at least 1.1 million South Koreans traveling to Thailand this year.

In December 2022, a non-stop Air Canada flight between Vancouver and Bangkok was inaugurated.

This is the only non-stop journey between North America and Thailand. The flight from Vancouver to Bangkok will take approximately 16 hours.

Other than Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Bangkok, tourists are also visiting places like Koh Samui and Krabi.

A large group of tourists are spotted visiting The Wharf Samui, one of Koh Samui’s most prominent street markets. The market offers Thai products and food such as Somtam and Pad Thai.

After Covid restrictions were lifted, tourists are now returning back to the islands in Krabi.

There are popular tourist attractions such as the Emerald Pool, Phi Phi islands, and Koh Lanta that tourists can enjoy, with activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.

The Bank of Thailand expects approximately 25.5 million foreign tourist visits this year.

This is a significant jump from last year’s 11.15 million foreign tourist visits.

According to Reuters, the recovery of the tourism sector has enabled the Baht to appreciate approximately 5.4% against the dollar.

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Writer’s name: Ong Bo Yang

Biography

I am currently a Masters’s student, majoring in Master of Science in Programme and Project Management at the University of Warwick.

I have written 23 Op-Eds for 14 ASEAN News Media, including Cambodia’s The Phnom Penh Post, the Philippines’s Daily Tribune, Singapore’s The Business Times, Thailand’s Bangkok Post, and Vietnam’s VNExpress.

You may view my published articles via this link:

https://linktr.ee/aseanwriter

Adam Judd
Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of TPN Media since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America, but has also lived in Dallas, Sarasota, and Portsmouth. His background is in retail sales, HR, and operations management, and has written about news and Thailand for many years. He has lived in Pattaya for over nine years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail Editor@ThePattayanews.com About Us: https://thepattayanews.com/about-us/ Contact Us: https://thepattayanews.com/contact-us/