TAT targets Korean, Indian visitors for high season

TAT targets Korean, Indian visitors for high season

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to increase inbound visitors from Asian markets during the high season via travel bubble schemes with South Korea and India.

Thanet Phetsuwan, TAT deputy governor of marketing for Asia and South Pacific, said most visitors in the reopening schemes came from long-haul destinations that have fewer quarantine requirements than Asian countries.

TAT overseas offices in this region and the South Pacific are due to discuss the marketing strategy today to resolve this problem.

Mr Thanet said South Korea and India are two markets that could supply tourists soon, as South Korea and Thailand had dialogue on a potential travel bubble before it was disrupted by the latest wave of Covid-19 infections.

India does not allow flights to Thailand as international air travel is only available for countries under bilateral air bubble agreements, such as the US, the UAE, Japan and the Maldives. Thailand is not on its list.

He said an air bubble agreement would allow direct flights and chartered flights from India to Thailand without the obstacle of transit through other countries.

Japan is lifting its state of emergency this month, which will hopefully lead to eased international travel restrictions in the near future, especially for business travellers to Thailand, said Mr Thanet.

"TAT has to find opportunities to attract Asian markets despite the strict travel regulations in most countries," he said.

"A shorter quarantine period of seven days means the virus situation in Thailand is coming under control and this should help create more demand."

Regarding Chiang Mai's reopening plan for Nov 1, Mr Thanet said TAT and tourism operators are working on procedures to welcome tourists during their seven-day required stay.

If tourists receive a negative test result, they can travel as part of tour packages. An RT-PCR test is mandatory for the first test, but a proposal to switch to the cheaper antigen test kit for the second test is being considered by Chiang Mai's governor.

Mr Thanet said golf tours will be a highlight for Chiang Mai as the province has 10 standard golf courses. Golfers from South Korea have already expressed their interest in visiting the province this cool season, he said.

There will also be a focus on Indian weddings and tour programmes tailored for female travellers, said Mr Thanet.

Chiang Mai expects to welcome around 3,000 foreign arrivals per month in November and December.

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