First batch of tourists Covid-free

First batch of tourists Covid-free

More arrivals from China due this month

Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Tuesday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The result of the first Covid-19 test on arrival for 39 Chinese tourists who travelled using the special tourist visa reported no positive cases.

Another two groups from China are scheduled to arrive on Oct 26 and Oct 28, while Scandinavian travellers queue up for November, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.

He said the ministry has not received additional inbound requests from other countries.

The ministry plans to consider the consequences from the first stage of reopening.

If a new flow of tourists arrive without any positive cases, the government is ready to implement a more relaxed quarantine, but this requires approval from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration first, said Mr Phiphat.

"Europe now faces a second wave," he said. "The Tourism and Sports and Foreign ministries will allow tourists from low-risk cities with zero new cases for more than 30 days."

The Tourism and Sports Ministry reported tourism receipts in the first nine months were 655 billion baht, down 70.6% from the same period last year, or a decrease of 1.57 trillion baht.

The number of international arrivals dropped 77.3% year-on-year, as the figure remained at 6.69 million for six consecutive months from April to September.

International revenue was stagnant at 332 billion baht, down 77% or 1.1 trillion baht shy of the same period last year.

Meanwhile, domestic tourism from January to September totalled 52.7 million trips, a plunge of 54.7%. Local tourism contributed 323 billion baht to the economy, down 59.5% year-on-year, a decrease of 474 billion baht.

Domestic trips gradually picked up since the government relaxed some restrictions on interprovincial travel in July. September accounted for 8.58 million domestic trips, the highest monthly figure since the outbreak, yet still 35% less than the tally for September 2019.

Mr Phiphat said the number of domestic trips is expected to reach 9-10 million during the high season thanks to nice weather and the domestic stimulus campaign, which has been extended to Jan 31, 2021.

However, the average hotel occupancy rate nationwide in September remained soft at only 27.9%. The ministry reported hotels in second-tier provinces, especially small cities, had a faster recovery than hotels in major provinces, which rely heavily on foreign tourists and often have a glut of accommodation.

The volume of domestic air flights was 16,229 in September, reported Aeronautical Radio of Thailand. For provincial airports, Chiang Mai recorded the highest number of flights at 3,382, followed by Phuket (2,160), Hat Yai (2,101) and Nakhon Si Thammarat (1,584).

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