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Thailand seeks measures to resuscitate inbound flow

THE TOURISM Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planning to reintroduce a tourist visa fee waiver scheme for China, India, Russia and Taiwan nationals, as part of a wider stimulus initiative to boost inbound traffic and help local tourism operators affected by the floods.

  25/11/2011 10:12

The exemption of tourist visa fees for certain nationalities, first introduced in 2009 following the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport the previous December, had seen several extensions over the ensuing two years, before finally being discontinued in March (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 3).

According to TAT governor Suraphon Svetasreni, a proposal to reinstate the tourist-friendly policy has already been tabled to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, along with a request for funding to help beleaguered Thai tourism operators, and to kick-start the Miracle Thailand campaign—put on hold since the start of the floods in October.

In the immediate term, Suraphon said the country’s long-running Amazing Thailand, Always Amazes You marketing campaign would remain as the key message throughout efforts to restore visitors’ confidence, with the NTO having scheduled fam trips for foreign media and travel experts starting December 13.

Asian market representatives are scheduled to visit tourist attractions in Bangkok and Ayuthaya—inundated by floods but now back to normalcy, before moving on to other unaffected destinations. As for the European market representatives, the trips will focus on special interest itineraries encompassing elements such as ecotourism.

Meanwhile, TAT is predicting that even if the flood situation is resolved by the end of the month, the country’s international tourism targets for the year are expected to fall short of about 220,000 arrivals and US$275 million in revenue.

Before the flood crisis started, Thailand was anticipating 19.5 million overseas visitors and 746 billion baht (US$23.8 billion) in tourism receipts.

Source: TTG Asia

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