Archive for the ‘TAT’ Category

Thailand Wants To Celebrate Reopening In Style

October 16, 2021

Thailand is planning on throwing a massive extravaganza to celebrate the country’s reopening. The Tourism and Sports Ministry is planning on hosting concerts in Bangkok and Phuket, with a budget of 500-600 million baht. The concerts will feature famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, and Thai K-pop singer Lisa Monaban. Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says bringing the 2 artists to the country is beyond economic value.
“Particularly Lalisa ‘Lisa’ Monaban, the young Thai K-pop singer, who is a huge inspiration for the youth of the country.
He also confirmed that Lalisa Monaban will be singing in Phuket at the Sarasin Bridge, while Andrea Bocelli will be performing in Bangkok at the Sanam Luang public square. The government and private sector are co-sponsoring the event by spending 200 million baht. The rest of the funding is from private sponsors. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has requested for the artists to perform as part of a New Year’s celebration, and is waiting to hear back from the artists’ agents. But Piphat says Covid-19 protocols must also be taken into account.
“We also need to discuss with the Public Health Ministry the number of audience members allowed and other health and safety protocols for such big events when we are still battling an outbreak.”
The CCSA has recently announced that vaccinated visitors from certain countries could enter the country without undergoing a quarantine, starting November 1. These visitors will also be allowed to travel wherever they want, instead of being restricted to certain parts of the country. Additionally, Bangkok has approved a plan to allow business events with 500 participants or fewer.
The president of the Thai Spa Association and head of the Hua Hin Recharge programme, Krod Rojanastien has high hopes for the reopening plan. He says that opening up Hua Hin to international travelers will double the city’s occupancy rates, from 20% to 40%.
Krod says that official timelines should be published to make it easier to plan for both tourists and tourism operators alike. He also said that guests are waiting for these official announcements to be made before making plans to come.

Thai Tourism Operators Are Debating About 500 Baht Tourism Tax

October 13, 2021

Tourism operators are divided over a plan to impose a 500 baht “tourism tax” on foreign arrivals from next year. Nikkei Asia reports that some operators are concerned such a move could stifle tourism just as the country prepares to reopen. Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi is the president of the Thai Hotels Association.”The fee to be implemented is a considerable amount for those visiting Thailand, where hotel rooms can be found for as little as 1,000 baht. Potential visitors will rethink their travel plans due to this fee.”THA’s southern chapter’s Kongsak Khoopongsakorn agrees that the tourism industry needs the funds, but the government should pay for it, not tourists.”The fund will help our tourism industry grow sustainably in several ways. However, I don’t believe the funds should come from tourists.”The former chairman of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Chairat Trirattanajaraspon, says now is the right time to introduce a tourist tax as the sector recovers from the economic devastation caused by Covid-19.The Covid-19 pandemic has already indicated a clear need for the tax, and I think now would be a good time to implement it. It would be a very useful mechanism if we faced another crisis in the future to support the tourism industry.”The proposed fee was originally 300 baht, but it was raised to 500 baht earlier this month. It would replace the departure tax already imposed on departing passengers and would turn Thailand into an upscale destination for foreign tourists. The fee still needs Cabinet approval before it can take effect.It used to account for 20% of Thailand’s GDP before the Covid-19 pandemic decimated it. However, Thailand is now taking small steps to revive the industry, from sandbox schemes to quarantine-free entry for travelers from low-risk countries.

TAT Wants To Collect 500-baht From Tourists in 2022

October 4, 2021

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is poised to start collecting a 500-baht tourism fee for a “tourism transformation fund” next year, and the budget will use a co-payment model.
The Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the creation of the fund last week. The fund will support high-value and sustainable tourism projects in order to transform the tourism industry.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), told reporters that it will begin collecting 500 baht per person next year with the goal of collecting 5 billion baht in the first year, assuming 10 million foreign arrivals by 2022.
Early this year, the National Tourism Policy Committee approved the establishment of the fund, with a proposed fee of 300 baht per person.
This additional $200 million will be used to fund projects initiated by the private sector, community enterprises, and social enterprises that wish to transform their business to meet the fund’s goals; help the country transition away from mass tourism to high-value tourism and a green economic model; and support environmentally responsible tourism.
“The government should use the fund to support projects that can have a significant economic impact. The proportion of public-private funding could be 50:50, 60:40 or 70:30, depending on how much we want to make the projects a success,” he said.
According to Yuthasak, it is also intended to fund insurance and development projects for foreign visitors that require government rather than private sector initiatives, such as those requiring matching grants from local governments.
Upon approval of the concept, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and TAT are required to hold discussions with relevant authorities about setting up the fund committee and funding mechanisms, such as how to collect fees from tourists, he said.
To determine which projects are eligible for financial support, the committee must develop criteria.
“The additional cost will not affect tourists as we want to focus on the quality market,” Yuthasak said.
This fund will contribute to a national tourism makeover that creates a more safe and clean environment.
In his words, the fund’s objective is not to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic, but rather to promote long-term economic growth within the region.

Tourism Operators Want COVID-19 Restrictions Relaxed

September 25, 2021

Tourism operators are pushing for a relaxation of travel restrictions and a shorter quarantine to attract more international arrivals for the upcoming high season.
Khoopongsakorn, president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter, said reducing the time of quarantine and the number of RT-PCR tests to two might not significantly increase the number of visitors, adding that more regulations needed to be eased.
Using antigen test kits for the second test would reduce the cost from 5,200 baht for two RT-PCR tests to about 3,000 baht.
In Europe, RT-PCR tests cost 1,000 baht, compared to 2,400 or 2,800 baht in Phuket. Kongsak believes that this is a sticking point for potential visitors, which leads them to choose another destination.
To make traveling to Thailand more appealing, the complicated Certificate of Entry procedure should also be simplified.
As a result of aircrafts’ high-efficiency particulate air filters, foreigners are also concerned about the rule that sends high-risk passengers into quarantine if they are on the same flight as those who test positive since the risk of in-flight transmission is highly unlikely.
To put tourists at ease while visiting the sandbox, this measure must be revoked, he said.
Since Indian tourists have been granted permission to visit the sandbox, they will be able to travel by November as Phuket had direct flights via the IndiGo airline prior to the pandemic, said Kongsak.
Tourists plan their year-end holidays 2-3 months in advance, so travel restrictions must be eased quickly and clearly.
In the fourth quarter, the relaxation of rules for local travelers and the government stimulus campaign should help generate 150,000-200,000 domestic trips per month and lift the occupancy rate to 20%, Kongsak said.
According to Charintip Tiyaphorn, president of the Tourism Council of Krabi, if the Phuket sandbox reduces the mandatory stay to seven days, Krabi can receive more tourists by land, which takes three hours from Phuket. The current 7+7 model requires tourists to transfer to Krabi by boat, which is difficult during the monsoon season in September.
Due to the gloomy weather, some tourists decided to cancel their trips to Krabi and stay in Phuket instead. Krabi received 331 tourists under the 7+7 island-hopping scheme as of Sept 23.

NY TAT Is Trying To Make Sure That American Travelers Come To Thailand

August 28, 2021

American travelers who have been fully vaccinated are looking for destinations without complex restrictions, according to the New York Office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Travelers from the United States are looking away from previously popular destinations such as Europe and Canada, and when they’re looking for tropical beach vacations, destinations like the Maldives and the Caribbean are attracting tourists who might have chosen Thailand in the past.
According to the director of the TAT’s New York Office, travelers and tour operators are avoiding countries that have restrictive entry requirements, strict regulations about who is allowed in, and complicated procedures just to get into the country. Rather, they focus their efforts and travel on countries that are fully open to travelers and do not require quarantine.
People see news of lockdowns and assume Thailand and other Asian countries are closed for tourism, so some tour operators advise tourists to avoid the region. In addition to its Phuket Sandbox program and Samui Plus scheme, Thailand hopes the Sandbox 7+7 Extension will attract more customers by offering the opportunity to travel to several locations in Thailand during the first two weeks of the program.
Similar to the UK, which has added Thailand to its red list of restricted countries, requiring a 10-day quarantine on return, the US has classified Thailand as warranting a Level 4 Travel Advisory, telling Americans not to travel there because of safety concerns related to Covid-19. The director of the New York TAT says citizens can still travel.
3222 Americans were among the first 24,000 international travelers to arrive in Phuket Sandbox as of August 24. Despite the increase in Certificate of Entry applications, they do not grow fast enough to really reinvigorate the Thai tourism industry. Covid-19 tests and entry restrictions on entry are proving more deterrent than even travel warnings from home countries.
The TAT director looked at Canada’s situation as well and concluded that the difficult entry process has driven that market away from Thailand as well. There have been long lockdowns and Covid-19 resurgence despite high vaccination rates, and travelers are hesitant to travel within the next few months. Research shows that only 38% of Canadian travelers plan to travel in the next three months, while 79% said they would travel to destinations welcoming vaccinated travelers within the next year.

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Despite Delays In Phuket Sandbox Plan, TAT Wants To Move On To Phuket 7+7 Plan

August 16, 2021

Although many of the original Sandbox plans have been delayed as Covid-19 outbreaks spread and domestic travel has been mostly shut down, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to launch its 7+7 model for travellers to stay in Phuket for one week before continuing on to a handful of other destinations.
It is proposed to allow arrivals to spend 7 days in Phuket and then spend the remainder of their arrival observation period at one of the 9 designated locations that the TAT has selected and is seeking approval from the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
The Thai Anti-Terrorist Team expects to launch this 7+7 plan during August, despite Covid-19 infections consistently exceeding 20,000 per day nationally and 500 per week in the Phuket Sandbox.
Surat Thani would be the first and farthest region to be included in the scheme. With the Samui Plus programme launching on July 15, albeit to paltry numbers, and flights scheduled from Phuket Sandbox to Samui Airport, opening the 7+7 scheme to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao makes sense.
It makes sense to expand the Sandbox into the two popular holiday regions just outside of Phuket with easy transportation to each. A week after arriving in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi is opened for international travellers, along with Railay Beach and Koh Ngai in Krabi province. In the northern province of Phang Nga, Khao Lak, Kho Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi will be reopened for travellers for their second week in Thailand.
The Phuket Sandbox has so far been a success, with nearly 20,000 arrivals and more than 370,000 hotel room nights booked through September, according to a secretary for the Prime Minister’s office. More travellers come from the US, UK, Israel, and Germany. Bangkok. Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chon Buri have been the top 5 destinations after Phuket.

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Phuket Government And Tourist Officials Are Worried About The Effect Of Tourist Murder

August 9, 2021

Phuket authorities will be making all-out efforts to restore tourist confidence following the murder of a Swiss tourist which has dealt a serious blow to the “sandbox” opening program.
Although police spent only two days tracking down the suspect after discovering the tourist’s body, local authorities and business operators agreed there were many more things to do to restore the confidence of tourists.
Phuket reopened for foreign tourists from July 1 under the Phuket sandbox scheme amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
Under the scheme, tourists are required to stay on the resort island for 14 days and undergo several Covid-19 tests before they are allowed to travel to other provinces.
Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said officials will survey unsafe areas in each community and put them under surveillance.
Equipment and technology will be used to enhance security.
He said collaboration from all sectors is a must and, as an urgent measure, volunteers from the civil sector will be recruited to act as the eyes and ears of local authorities in deterring crimes.
“The province and all stakeholders are working together to step up security for tourists. We are thankful for everyone working to restore confidence in the Phuket sandbox scheme,” he said at a press conference on the arrest of the murder suspect.
He thanked local people for their cooperation, authorities, and police for a swift investigation leading to the arrest of Teerawat Thothip, 27, who confessed to the murder of Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf who was found dead last Thursday at a waterfall.
He said authorities will make assessments to determine how to increase safety around tourist spots deemed to be unsafe.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn also thanked the police for taking swift action, which is expected to restore confidence.
The incident had shocked many and could have devastating impacts on the country’s image, he said.
He said the Tourism and Sports Ministry and TAT offices worldwide will evaluate the impacts on the sandbox scheme while noting that it is still early to discuss the repercussions.
According to the TAT governor, forward bookings for the Phuket sandbox are still ongoing. Almost 6,000 room nights were reserved on Aug 7, compared with 7,027 room nights on Aug 5, 2021.
Phurit Matwongsa, the manager of Patong Resort, said the impacts are limited at this point because the suspect was arrested quickly.
However, an incident like this should never have happened and pre-emptive measures must be in place.
He also said the Covid-19 outbreak is still having a big impact on the tourism industry with several countries advising their people to avoid unnecessary travel to Thailand.
Jan Kaethner, a Swiss diplomat for police affairs, thanked police and the government for their efforts in tracking down the attacker and restoring safety to the tourist province.
Phumkit Raktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said the local community will cooperate in making the province a safe tourist destination.
Prachum Tantiprasertsuk, executive of Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, said he expects to see increased collaboration in tightening security and safety for tourists. According to the TAT, the Phuket sandbox scheme has generated at least 818 million baht since its launch on July 1. As of Aug 2, it has welcomed 15,169 foreign visitors.
More than 317,000 room nights have been reserved during July-September: 190,843 are for July, 116,253 for August, and 10,320 for September.
In July 2021, the province received 141 flights from six airlines and tomorrow will welcome 191 tourists.
Based on the survey, beaches and natural tourist sites top the tourists’ favourite places.

Thai Tourism Authority Thinks 1,500 People Are Coming After July 1st Due To COVID-19 Sandbox Plan

June 25, 2021

Thailand’s Tourism Authority announced that 1,500 people are expected to arrive on July 1 for the opening of the much-maligned Phuket Sandbox. The governor of TAT said that 1,500 tickets have been booked for international flights to arrive in Phuket on the first day of reopening.
During the celebrations, the island intends to welcome back the first arrivals in over a year and a half. A total of 200 members of the media and international agencies have been invited to take part in the Phuket reopening.
To boost domestic tourism, promotions will also be launched to lure fully vaccinated Thais to the holiday island. TAT is partnering with a variety of tourism agencies and the Council and Chamber of Commerce of Thailand to create special programs to encourage vaccinated Thais to visit Phuket. Phuket is launching a tourism promotion called “Hug Thai, Chai Thai, Hug Travel”.
With 1,500 attendees, the kickoff is a promising start that will gradually grow through the end of the third quarter at the end of September. The government has now set a goal for 100,000 international tourists to arrive in Phuket between July 1 and September 30. The hope is that this will generate some tourism revenue, certainly more than the island province has seen since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
There are still hurdles to be overcome before the Phuket Sandbox reopens. As a result of the travel restrictions for the first 14 days of international arrivals, the province is setting up a tourist tracking center. Owners of bars and entertainment venues on the island are angry and are rallying to reopen when tourists return. There has been little assistance to local businesses, and there is little nightlife or even a nightcap for tourists that arrive.
The TAT also addressed the infection rate in Phuket at the moment, saying that it is in the single digits daily and asking for the public’s trust. The government claims to control and manage infection with strict safety measures and the SHA Plus certification program that ensures businesses follow the rules.

TAT Has Proposed That Expat Remote Workers in Thailand Get Special VIsa

June 8, 2021

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has proposed allowing digital nomads to legally work and stay in Thailand without a work permit.
Foreigners living and working in Thailand are to be subject to new rules, as part of Thailand’s plans to attract investment worth 1 trillion baht.
People who want to work remotely from Thailand, or digital nomads, will be able to do so if they show that they have a regular income from overseas.
Large companies can also send employees to work remotely from Thailand.
Applicants need to have a minimum income (salary, investment income, etc.) of at least $80,000 per year for the past 2 years or $40,000 per year with a master’s or higher degree as well as intellectual property ownership or to have received Series A funding.
Additionally, they must have 5 years of working experience and health insurance covering $100,000 or more in medical expenses.
Companies applying for the scheme will need to be listed on the stock exchange of their respective country or have been trading for at least 3 years and have an annual income of 50 million US dollars.
Applicants who are able to meet the requirements will be granted a 10-year stay in Thailand, as well as the right to work in Thailand without a work permit.
Their income from abroad would be exempt from income tax, and their income in Thailand would be charged at a flat rate of 17%.
Also, they would be given special rights regarding ownership and long-term leasing of land in Thailand.
Thailand does not offer any type of visa classification for location-independent remote workers, leaving the legality of digital nomads in somewhat of a grey area.
Thailand’s immigration laws and rules for foreign workers were drafted more than fifty years ago, before the concept of a ‘digital nomad’ – someone who works online from anywhere in the world using only a laptop and an internet connection – even existed.
However, under the new proposals, Thailand will follow the lead of other countries and welcome digital nomads to work remotely in the kingdom.
According to the Thai Association of Technology, welcoming digital nomads will boost Thailand’s economy and contribute to the post-pandemic recovery of the nation.
The so-called digital nomad visa is part of the proposals that Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the cabinet have already presented to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

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