6 June 2024

The government is being advised to roll out stimulus packages to boost domestic tourism, to encourage more Thais to travel within the country, to offset the potential drop off in tourist arrivals during the last quarter of this year, due to external factors such as the war in Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas.

Chamnan Srisawat, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said that the prospect of an all-out war between Israel and Hamas will affect the global economy and the Thai tourism business, as tourists will cancel or postpone their visits because they feel unsafe.

To offset this, he suggested the government comes up with stimulus packages to encourage Thai people to travel more, and not just to major tourist destinations, like Phuket or Chiang Mai, as there are other provinces which are worth visiting.

Meanwhile, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, said that tour operators are worried that the escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas will cause tourists to feel unsafe and reluctant to travel although, for the time being, tourist arrivals from Russia and Israel have not been severely affected.

Over one million Russians have visited Thailand since the beginning of this year, compared to about 190,000 from Israel.

Sisdivachr predicted that total tourist arrivals for the whole year will about 28 million, accounting for 60-70% of total arrivals during the pre-COVID period, as tourist arrivals from China and Japan are still below target due to economic problems in the two countries.

He is optimistic that the tourism sector in Thailand will improve in the coming year, but he is doubtful that the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s set target of 35 million arrivals will be hit.

Citing the case of Chinese tourist arrivals, which are still low, he suggested that agencies concerned quickly improve the poor image of Thailand being an unsafe tourist destination, as portrayed on Chinese social media.