Betong's tourist prospects are now looking up

Betong's tourist prospects are now looking up

Tourists take photos in downtown Betong, Yala, on March 18, 20222. (Bangkok Post photo)
Tourists take photos in downtown Betong, Yala, on March 18, 20222. (Bangkok Post photo)

Businesses in the tourism sector of Betong district in Yala have made more than 200 million baht in revenue since the country re-opened in May.

Betong district chief Ake Yang-apai Na Songkhla said tourists had increased over the past months.

Some 5,609 tourists visited the district in May. That jumped to 13,469 in June and rose to than 100,000 tourists from July to this month. Most tourists travelled from Malaysia and Singapore.

The district also expects an influx of tourists from Malaysia and Singapore in the fourth and last quarter of this year, he said. Mr Ake said security agencies will beef up safety protocols to boost visitor confidence and provide convenience for both domestic and foreign tourists. Restaurants and nightspots are also ready to service tourists, he said.

Pol Lt Col Somjet Noochaikaew, chief inspector of the Betong immigration office, said about 500-800 visitors arrived in the district daily on weekdays. The number has increased to 1,000-1,500 tourists a day during weekends since May.

Meanwhile, Nok Air chief executive Wutthiphum Jurangkool said the airline is in talks with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and tour operators before deciding whether to continue flights on the Bangkok-Betong route as operating costs are high.

The low-cost carrier flies three time a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Don Mueang airport to Betong. The schedule will run until the end of next month.

However, the flight to Betong, launched in April, has received positive feedback from customers, some 80-90% of whom had booked the tickets as part of a package tour. The load factor on the route remains solid at 80-90%.

Thanks to the weak baht, many Thais prefer to travel within the country, which comes as a blessing for Betong which has emerged as a favoured destination for domestic tourists.

The Don Mueang-Betong flight was costly to operate with the route twice as long as the Bangkok-Chiang Mai flight, he said. A one-way ticket is priced at 3,000-4,000 baht.

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