Industry urged to rethink strategies
Thai tourism has to pivot on making an inclusive tourism platform adapting to the Thai Chana application to brace for changes and uncertainties of post-pandemic travel.
Mingsarn Kaosa-ard, president of the Public Policy Studies Institute (PPSI), said even though the outbreak is giving everyone a hard time, it is a rare opportunity to reset the industry by adjusting appropriate carrying capacity and developing a national tourism platform.
At present, Thai Chana is a recognised tracking platform that is being used widely.
Tourism operators can benefit by connecting their communication and marketing channels to this application to let tourists stay up-to-date while travelling in the country.
Another key strategy is to pair Thailand with potential countries via chartered flights to diverse destinations other than Bangkok. Provinces that report few infectious cases should receive more opportunity for building up awareness among international markets.
She said small businesses should collaborate to strengthen their businesses, such as small hotels without affiliate services in-house can partner with standalone fitness centres or Thai massage shops nearby.
Hoteliers have to create more activities in hotels for tourists who are limited by quarantine restrictions which can be a useful strategy to draw more guests during the upcoming rainy season.
She also favoured the idea to let Thai returnees who are not students be responsible for their quarantine accommodation at their own cost as most of them did not enrol in the domestic tax system.
Their contributions can spur the local economy in tough times, instead of depending on the state budget.
Mrs Mingsarn suggested Thailand create motor tourism in which operators can modify a double-decker tour bus to accommodate overnight stays for 15-20 tourists, in case they have to venture to destinations with insufficient rooms or inferior public transport.
The trip can be made from Bangkok to the South, stopping by Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Satun and Phatthalung along the way for a four-days, three-night excursion.
She said such motel buses will not only support operators in off-the-beaten-path provinces, but also help idle tour buses hit the road once again.
"Local tourists may still make up only one-third of tourism revenue no matter how hard we push domestic trips," Mrs Mingsarn said. "It's vital for us to welcome international tourists to fill up hotel supplies."