BANGKOK, 5 November 2021: Thai Airways International and its subsidiary Thai Smile have resumed flights on 36 routes from their home base at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.
The airline says the increase in routes responds to the Thai government’s decision to reopen travel to fully vaccinated travellers from 63 countries and territories effective 1 November.
During the first three days, 1 to 3 November, the Department of Health said 4,510 travellers entered the country with just six passengers testing positive for Covid-19.
Most of the passengers were returning Thailand residents plus travellers from Singapore, Japan, Germany, London, Qatar and China, the Department of Health told AP news agency.
Different government departments issue contradictory estimates on the number of passengers arriving in Bangkok since the country eased rules for vaccinated travellers on 1 November.
One media source quoted the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), claiming 21,316 passengers would arrive on international flights from 1 to 5 November.
CAAT clocks arrivals at three airports Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. It said 27 airlines are currently serving the three international airports.
No longer a pivotal player in transporting tourists to Thailand, the national airline will serve 36 routes reinstated for the timetable period 31 October 2021 to 26 March 2022, 19 are to Asian destinations, nine in Europe, one in Australia, and 14 domestic cities served by Thai Smile Airways. Flights are operating at 50% capacity to meet health and safety rules.
Meanwhile, an optimistic Ministry of Tourism and Sports delegation supported by the team from the Tourism Authority of Thailand attended the World Travel Market in London earlier this week.
The key message focused on launching the Visit Thailand Year 2022 and a new promotional campaign; Amazing Thailand: Amazing New Chapters.
TAT also signed letters of intent with British Airways and TUI, a global tour operator, to establish partnerships to promote Thailand as a preferred destination for travellers from the UK and worldwide.
Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, led the WTM delegation of travel and hospitality executives representing Thai hotels such as Centara Hotels and Resorts, Dusit Hotels & Resorts, Minor Hotels, Standard Hotels, and Wattana Hotel Marketing Consultants. Tour operators such as I Asia Thailand, Diethelm Travel Thailand, Discover and tourism representatives such as SALT Representation, Red Elephant Reps, and The MC Collection also attended.
Visit Thailand Year 2022
Visit Thailand Year 2022 will present travel experiences under three ‘Amazing New Chapters’. Here’s the TAT take on how the chapters will unfold.
“Chapter 1, or The First Chapter, will see TAT highlight tourism products and services that will awaken travellers’ five senses, such as delicious Thai cuisine and the picturesque natural scenery that can be discovered all throughout the kingdom.
“In Chapter 2, The One You Love, TAT will focus on specific segments like families, couples, and friends and invite them to create beautiful memories together in Thailand. In particular, Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai will be promoted as destinations for weddings and honeymooners, with their beautiful beaches, mountain resorts, and vibrant city appeals.
“Chapter 3, The Earth We Care, will highlight how nature’s chance to revitalise due to the Covid-19 situation has increased ecotourism awareness among the world’s travellers and how their behaviour has impacted the environment.
“The emergence of travel segments like wilderness tourism (Escapers) and cult-vacation (conscious) will also show that travellers’ behaviour has changed towards spending more time in nature and being increasingly conscious of their impact on natural resources.
“In addition, other segments to highlight gastronomy, health and wellness, as well as workcation, which has become a growing trend when the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic will allow people to work remotely and enjoy a vacation.”
TAT’s Thailand Travel Situation reports
January to September 2021, Thailand welcomed 85,845 international visitors through various entry schemes, such as the Sandbo, Special Tourist Visa (STV), Thailand Privilege Card, and Medical Tourism.
The Phuket Sandbox record 60,649 visitors from 1 July to 31 October 2021, with the top five markets being Thai and expatriate residents returning home, USA, Israel, UK, Germany, and France.
Finally, TAT plugged the country’s reopening to international visitors that kicked off 1 November. It welcomes fully vaccinated visitors from 63 countries and territories with just a one-night pit stop at an SHR+ registered hotel while they wait for the Covid-19 test results.
TAT forecasts international visits will rise to 1 million from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022. But travel industry executives note that while the new rules might be more user-friendly, the bulk of the arrivals remain in the “essential travel” category. The risks, uncertainties, and the see-saw swings in regulations and policy will remain a deterrent for genuine leisure tourists.
In 2022, TAT forecasts tourism will generate THB1.58 trillion, including THB818 billion from international tourists and THB771 billion from domestic tourists.
TAT’s headcount for next year points to a ballpark estimate of 10 million travellers, a fraction of the 40 million who visited Thailand in 2019.