Transport woes dim reopening
Operators seek easing of licensing
Insufficient vehicles and more expensive transportation costs at the airport on the first day of reopening prompted tourism operators to urge further relaxation of transport permits.
Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, acting president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council, said only vehicles with yellow or green licence plates can pick up tourists at the airport, but the number of available vehicles is not enough to serve tourists, while the price is also higher than usual.
Under the Test & Go scheme, tourists can book the first night with hotels in Bangkok or go directly to nearby destinations like Pattaya to wait for their RT-PCR test results.
He said the flow of tourists will run more smoothly if general licence plates are granted permission to pick up tourists with drivers being registered with the Airports of Thailand during the first stage of reopening.
He said lifting capacity limits in vans from 3-4 to 8-10 passengers from the same flight will reduce transportation costs to Pattaya which are normally 2,000 baht per person, making the price more competitive with Bangkok which costs less than 500 per person.
Besides restricted licences, vehicles for travellers have to get SHA Plus standard.
He said tourism operators will discuss this issue with the Provincial Transport Office and the Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports to facilitate tourists.
Mr Thanet said 90% of bookings in the first week were Test & Go travellers who booked just one night as they already have apartments, families or workplaces in Chon Buri, while 10% are tourists looking for extended stays of more than one night in Pattaya.
He said as India is already included in the updated list for Test & Go, the Thai ambassador to India informed that commercial flights are estimated to start around mid-November, depending on the air travel policy of both countries.
The updated list including neighbouring countries like Laos and Myanmar, while the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia will open more opportunities, said Punlop Saejew, president of the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai.
"Besides travellers from South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, our neighbours are potential markets for Chiang Mai," Mr Punlop said.
Meanwhile, Charintip Tiyaphorn, president of the Tourism Council of Krabi, said Krabi is now opening the whole province with the occupancy rate growing to 20% from 10% in October, but Krabi airport is not reopened as planned because its terminal expansion faced delay.