June 21, 2014 00:00 By Suchat Sritama The Nation 4,413 Viewed
Tourism writers from 37 nations to see overall picture of post-coup Thailand
More than 1,000 travel journalists and bloggers will be arriving Thailand next month to help revive tourism after the lifting of the curfew.
Thawatchai Arunyik, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said travel writers and bloggers from 37 countries would arrive on July 25. The group is scheduled to visit key tourist attractions as well as Bangkok to observe the tourism environment and get an overall picture of people’s daily life.
“TAT set a special theme for this event called ‘Mega Fam Trip: Friends of Thailand’ as part of our tourism-recovery plans,” he said.
TAT also will bring business meetings into Thailand including 1,200 Indian travel agents, 250 CNBC sales people, and 100 guests under a Japanese long-stay programme.
He said the tourism industry had begun to bounce back a bit soon after the military cancelled the curfew nationwide on June 13.
Thawatchai said tourists from key markets in Asia such as China as well as from Europe were returning to Thailand, especially to Phuket, where many charter flights are available.
“It is a very good sign seeing new bookings come to airlines and hotels, not only in the provinces but also in the capital,” he said.
People from the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Chengdu have been quick to make a comeback thanks to direct charter flights to Phuket, Chiang Mai and Krabi. Furthermore, more than 3,000 Chinese are queuing up for visa applications each day.
“More charter flights from China are expected soon, perhaps before the coming high season,” Thawatchai said.
Hong Kong people are also expected to return soon after travel operators began offering free tourist insurance for travel to Thailand while the Hong Kong authorities maintained a travel advisory.
The tourism sector was hit when the military seized power from the elected government on May 22 and imposed a night-time curfew.
Days after the coup, average hotel occupancy rate in Bangkok dropped from 70 per cent to 40 per cent as 62 countries issued travel advisories.
While it hopes next month’s familiarisation trip for foreign journalists will clear away some of the gloom the tourism industry faces, the TAT has lowered its forecast for international arrivals this year to 25 million, from 28.6 million previously.
It has also cut its tourism-revenue forecast from Bt1.7 trillion to Bt1.3 trillion.