In the wake of a new government initiative to rejuvenate tourism via visa allowances, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) has voiced its doubts. The ATTA asserts that a fluctuating economy and weakened currency could hinder the effectiveness of offering free visas to Chinese tourists, especially in light of employee and flight scarcity. With the aim to combat urgent issues such as the development of tourist attractions and reinforcing the nation’s image as a secure travel destination, the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand are in the process of drafting an explanatory document set to be presented before the premier and Cabinet.
ATTA’s President, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, has notably stressed the urgent need for fresh strategies to entice an increased influx of tourists. Concurrently, Adith Chairattananon, the honorary secretary-general of the ATTA, furnished two potential alternatives for the Chinese visa policy. One proposal entails granting a visa-free entry for Chinese visitors for a duration of three to six months, and the other suggests waiving visa fees whilst retaining the visa application process. The latter option is considered more suitable from a security perspective.
Adith maintains that either measure could spur Chinese tourists arriving via bordering countries and utilising the visa-on-arrival endeavour to travel, for groups ranging from 100 to a 1,000 travellers. Yet, he points out that the visa policy in itself might not prove sufficient to invigorate the market given the struggle of numerous Chinese travel firms grappling with a worker shortage and escalated operational expenses.
While Chinese travel agents display optimism towards the new government regulations, they anticipate more precise information about upcoming tourism strategies, particularly those impacting visa processes. Adith underscored the current lukewarm desire among Chinese visitors to Thailand, hinting at economic hardships and a depreciation of the yuan as contributory factors. Negative images of Thailand propagated by Chinese social media outlets also influence potential tourists’ decision-making, especially concerning safety apprehensions, as reported by Bangkok Post.
Adith encouraged the government to promptly enforce effective tourism measures like enhancing flight capacity, particularly before the mid-September deadline, so as to achieve a target of five million Chinese tourists by the year’s end. However, he cautioned that recruiting additional staff and augmenting flight capacity to Thailand could necessitate substantial time to reach normal levels. Stay updated with The Thaiger’s latest reports through our newly established Facebook page.