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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Thailand rolls out tourism plan for 2022

Virus Outbreak Thailand Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok
Sakchai Lalit/AP
/
AP
A tourist arrives at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Local hotels and others dependent on tourism are keeping a close eye on visitor arrivals to the islands as the holiday season approaches. Another warm-weather beach destination has had a slow start as it re-opens — and is now rolling out plans for 2022.

It’s been three weeks to the day since Thailand re-opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from more than 60 countries.

The response so far has been a bit underwhelming — airlines have had inconsistent schedules, and tourism centers still have more supply than demand.

Last week, Thailand’s government announced a new tourism campaign for 2022 — featuring a music video showing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on the beach.

The project is funded by a combination of government and private sector money.

Four regions are being highlighted for foreign visitors: from the beaches of Phuket in the south to the Buddhist temples and mountains of Chiang Mai in the north.

The head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says hotels and airlines will offer discounts — and the goal is for hotels in those areas to reach occupancy levels of just 50%.

He says the target markets for visitors include India and the Middle East.

Those goals are coming too late for Thai AirAsia — which announced plans for “mass layoffs and extended furloughs” last week.

The exact numbers of job cuts are expected later this week — along with details on recovery plans to return to business stability.

Before the pandemic, government figures show tourism accounted for about 12% of Thailand’s overall economy.

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