UK market keen on country's reopening

A spike in enquiries for Thailand have been seen from the UK market after reopening without quarantine and area restrictions on Nov 1, resulting in more flight plans from British Airways and TUI, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the agency is now leading tourism-related operators from Thailand to join WTM London, one of the leading tourism marts in Europe, which was organised as a physical event from Nov 1 until today and as a virtual mart on Nov 8-9.

"We've got a lot of feedback, but there are remaining concerns about a requirement for those aged 12-18 to be double-vaccinated for the Test & Go scheme as the UK is only administering one dose to children, and also the alcohol ban in some tourism areas," said Mr Yuthasak.

Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT deputy governor for marketing communications, said most tour operators in the UK received a lot more inquiries as people are looking for an overdue break.

He said British Airways is ready to resume 3-7 flights per week to Bangkok from January. Each scheduled flight on Boeing 777 will have capacity of 268 seats.

Meanwhile, TUI, the travel company in the UK, plans to run charter flights to Phuket from Dec 17, 2021 to April, 2022, with total capacity of around 12,000 seats.

However, due to a low load factor, the TAT has started a joint promotion with the company to boost the number of package sales. Tourists will be offered RT-PCR testing at £30 per test, which is considered to be a competitive price in the market.

They also have dedicated teams to look after the entire on-arrival process for passengers arriving in Thailand.

Trade partners have also raised concerns about other regulations and processes, such as the requirement for guests to go to hospital on receiving a positive test result, while the Thailand Pass is off-putting for some consumers as it is an extra requirement that other countries don't have.

TAT earlier revised down the estimated number of international tourists this year to 100,000, but with a surge in new bookings in November, the total number this year might increase to 700,000.

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