The Thai aviation industry is calling on the government to introduce a visa waiver regime for international arrivals to stimulate demand. The Airlines Association of Thailand says global competition for tourists is getting tough and the government needs to do more to attract international visitors.
âWe are in fierce competition because each country needs tourists to cushion the economic impact. Further easing of restrictions will help improve our competitiveness. “
According to a report from the Bangkok Post, the chairman of AAT and head of Bangkok Airways said the government needs to look at the costs associated with travel to Thailand. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth says lowering the cost of PCR tests and visa fees, along with further easing of entry restrictions, would help increase demand for Thai vacations.
In particular, Puttipong believes that a visa waiver program would increase the number of foreign tourists and help the country meet its target of 10 million visitors by 2022. He also wants the current waiting period for the results of tests under the Test and Go entry program be reduced. He believes the aviation sector in Thailand will only recover between 20 and 30% of pre-pandemic levels and the industry may require support measures for up to 2 years.
Thai Lion Air’s Nuntaporn Komonsittivate says it is also the government’s responsibility to bring the virus under control in order to increase tourist confidence and allow travel bubbles. Right now, she says demand is low due to many tourists having to self-quarantine upon their return from Thailand.
Since the start of the pandemic, a number of Thai airlines have been forced to diversify their offer in order to stay afloat. Thai AirAsia has sought to earn extra cash from freight and digital services through the carrier’s SuperApp. Thai Airways also turned to cargo flights, as well as repatriation services when the border closed in 2020.
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THE SOURCE: Bangkok Post