Long-stay travel packages in the pipeline
The Tourism and Sports Ministry is floating an idea to provide long-stay packages to foreign tourists who are seeking disease-free destinations.
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, said that while international tourists are expected to gradually return after the domestic market, Thailand has to come up with a more appropriate marketing strategy to cope with the new norm of travellers.
"The ministry is working with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to set up a model which will attract specific group of travellers to visit chosen areas," Mr Phiphat said.
Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan will be the pilot destinations to welcome high-end tourists globally.
As those locations are reachable via limited gateways, the provincial authorities can ensure the screening of incoming guests and provide more safety prevention against the possible import of the virus compared to other major destination, such as Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai.
Mr Phiphat said tourists who want to spend at least one month in Thailand have to provide health certificates and strictly comply with every screening and health measures by Thai health authorities.
Currently, TAT offices abroad are reaching out to the long-stay market which normally spends more than average tourists, while four-star and five-star hotels are promoting the packages to their regular guests.
"The outbreak allows Thai tourism to shift focus to quality tourists rather than quantity," Mr Phiphat said.
The disease-free tourism packages are set to launch during the last quarter this year which is the time tourists from western countries usually seek warmer climes.
When the pandemic in Thailand has been brought under control, international travellers must not be the cause of a second wave of the infection, said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
The new health screening practices for tourists before flying to Thailand may become the standard in the future such as an idea of animmunity passport or risk-free certificate.
Mr Yuthasak said once domestic tourism resumes after lifting the lockdown measures, locals will travel in smaller groups.
Land transportation will be a popular choice, thanks to cheaper oil prices, he said.
The economic recession and drought will cause people to be more concerned about spending, so the market of budget travellers is expected to grow.
Millennials and female travellers will be the first group of independent tourists to travel.
"If the tourism industry cannot bounce back stronger from the downturn, it is difficult to restore the overall economy," Mr Yuthasak said.