Realistic goal set for 'Cha-am Sunshine' campaign

Realistic goal set for 'Cha-am Sunshine' campaign

Cha-am's reopening plan is expected to generate soft demand of 1,000 international arrivals per month as it prepares to become a connecting area for Hua Hin.

"The flow of tourists depends on marketing campaigns, which might take until mid-2022 to generate significant demand," said Karun Suttharomn, acting president of the Tourism Council of Phetchaburi.

The reopening scheme called "Cha-am Sunshine" should lure around 1,000 tourists, generating 15-20 million baht per month, by the end of this year. In the months of November and December 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic, 55,000 tourists visited Cha-am.

Mr Karun said the improving situation with regard to Covid-19 and the easing of rules, such as allowing hotels to serve alcohol and organise meetings with more than 25 participants, could also help increase the number of tourist arrivals.

"It is still uncertain whether international tourists will come to Cha-am on the first day of reopening on Nov 1, but hotels have prepared for this market," Mr Karun said.

In preparation for the reopening, 49.4% of the 29,000 residents in Cha-am municipality were completely inoculated as of Oct 3. The rate is expected to reach 70% by Oct 15.

He said Cha-am municipality has 159 hotels, of which 24 have a total of 2,594 rooms, which should be sufficient to serve foreign guests.

Tourists can travel independently or buy golf tour packages, with four golf courses in the area serving demand mostly from Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and the US.

The number of international arrivals in Phetchaburi province in 2019 stood at 550,539, contributing 4.7 billion baht, but the most important source of revenue were the 8.5 million Thais who created 27.8 billion in tourism receipts.

Mr Karun said Cha-am along with nearby destinations such as Hua Hin, where tourists can go shopping, will jointly attract the international market through the reopening plan.

On Oct 13, state agencies and operators in Cha-am and Hua Hin are scheduled to discuss further details on connecting routes between the two areas.

He said local travel sentiment is beginning to improve after the resumption of We Travel Together, a domestic stimulus campaign. The occupancy rate might reach 50-60% in the last quarter, from 10-20% at present.

Mr Karun said domestic tourists are the key market for Cha-am despite the reopening, and locals can rest assured about the screening process for inbound visitors.

Cha-am municipality is also preparing mobile swab test vehicles at hotels to facilitate tourists and help reassure locals.

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