TAT and Foreign Ministry collaborate for entry flow
As inbound demand to Thailand remains stymied, with processing of entry requests taking place at origination locations, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to work more closely with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate the flow of tourists.
While hundreds of international travellers await permission to enter the country, including Thailand Elite Card members and those applying for a special tourist visas (STVs), TAT acknowledges the process to allow entry to these groups is going slower than expected, said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT deputy governor for tourism products and business.
"Thailand is allowing more groups to cross the border, so more documents need to be approved by the Foreign Ministry to grant a certificate of eligibility [COE] to tourists," she said. "We will do our best to help facilitate foreigners."
At present, 14 Elite Card holders have arrived and completed a mandatory 14-day quarantine, while 34 members are undergoing quarantine.
Four members received the COE and are waiting for available flights.
None of the STV applicants have received a COE.
Mrs Thapanee said groups from China scheduled to visit Thailand in October are maintaining their plans, but arrival dates to Phuket must be postponed past Oct 25 following the prime minister's request to avoid coinciding with Phuket's famous vegetarian festival.
TAT will coordinate with the Chinese groups closely to see whether they will choose Phuket or opt for another destination instead.
Mrs Thapanee said the agency joined a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow yesterday, with the topic of discussion centred around attracting foreign investment in the country.
She said the government asked real estate developers to help offer the Thailand Elite Card package to foreigners along with their property sales.
More privileges, such as work permits, will be added to membership if they have a minimum investment of US$1 million in the country.
For domestic tourism, the TAT aims to accelerate the growth of domestic trips in the fourth quarter after recording 62 million trips from January to September.
Proudputh Liptapanlop, executive director of Proud Real Estate, which operates a hotels in Hua Hin and Phuket, said the business situation remains stable after pent-up demand flocked to tourism destinations.
Average hotel occupancy rates in Hua Hin and Phuket stood at 50% and 20%, respectively, thanks to the tourism campaign and long holidays, said Ms Proudputh.
She said the company's two hotels in Hua Hin benefited from the government's stimulus campaign more than its InterContinental Phuket Resort.