Korean arrivals expected to hit 1m mark in third quarter
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Korean arrivals expected to hit 1m mark in third quarter

More charter flights to be added in Q4

A South Korean couple read instructions regarding temple etiquette at Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram (Wat Pho) or the 'Temple of the Reclining Buddha' in Phra Nakhon district. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
A South Korean couple read instructions regarding temple etiquette at Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram (Wat Pho) or the 'Temple of the Reclining Buddha' in Phra Nakhon district. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The number of Korean tourists visiting Thailand is projected to hit 1 million in the third quarter of this year, while the Korea Tourism Organization also wants to attract more Thai tourists via smart tourism products.

Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor for Asia and the South Pacific at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said the revival of the Korean market is positive as Thailand has been gaining around 4,000-5,000 arrivals per day from Korea over the past two months, ranking it among the top five countries in terms of visitor arrivals.

As of June 18, the number of Koreans to have visited the country tallied 712,492, securing fourth place with a total of 11.8 million tourists. Russia was in first place, followed by China and Malaysia.

Mr Tanes said Thailand is popular among Korean travellers for its urban sightseeing, retreats and golf courses. This differs from other Asian markets, such as China, whose citizens prefer shopping.

Moreover, 85% of flights between Thailand and Korea have resumed, connecting major cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai with Seoul and Busan, he said.

Mr Tanes said more charter flights would be added during the cool months to accommodate soaring demand in the high season.

The average airfare is expected to become cheaper than the rate seen during the early stages of recovery. The more affordable airfares would encourage more tourists to plan trips to Thailand.

Given that the South Korean economy is projected to contract this year, Mr Tanes said a number of tourists would still be keen to travel.

Meanwhile, Thailand remains an attractive destination with affordable products and services, as well as being not too far away, with plenty of airlines to choose from compared with travelling to Europe, he said.

Mr Tanes said this year Thailand and South Korea had launched a special campaign to promote tourism between the two countries, highlighting each other's soft power, since the tourism industry requires two-way cooperation to grow strongly.

Adith Chairattananon, honorary secretary-general of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), said the association was invited by the Korea Tourism Organization last week to visit new attractions and learn about the country's new smart tourism products.

These include a platform allowing foreign tourists to search for tourism information, buy products and services online as well as offering virtual reality and augmented reality travel experiences.

In terms of Thai outbound tourists to South Korea, Mr Adith said the requirement to register on the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) online system still somewhat prevented Thais from visiting the country, although it was meant to prevent certain people from seeking to work there illegally.

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