The current situation in East Asia has made it impossible to generate demand, unlike more promising markets such as Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australia, said Thanet Phetsuwan, TAT deputy governor of marketing for Asia and South Pacific, reports the Bangkok Post.
Assuming that travel rules in the region are eased and tourists from Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore can travel without quarantine on their return, Thailand should gain 800,000 tourists this year from Southeast Asia, he said.
Meanwhile, an air travel bubble with India is to become effective as 12 airlines from both countries are ready to operate from this month.
Mr Thanet said Indian travel agents already launched sales and marketing for trips to Thailand.
TAT estimated around 500,000 Indian travellers will visit Thailand this year based on 70% airline capacity.
Meanwhile, Australia is another potential market as Thai Airways and Qantas connect cities in the two countries.
The agency targets attracting 200,000 tourists, particularly during the Easter holidays.
“Some 1.5mn tourists from short-haul markets are within our reach, but we still want to have at least 5mn arrivals from overall 10mn this year. However, the target will be revised in the second half after we follow developments in East Asia,” Mr Thanet said.
If China eases travel rules by the third quarter, Japanese tourists start to visit Thailand during the Golden Week or the virus situation in South Korea improves, there will be more pent-up demand to visit Thailand.
Nearby countries might not be directly impacted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but higher oil prices triggered by political unrest will push up airfares, he said.
On Wednesday (Mar 2), the TAT signed a letter of intent with Thai Vietjet for one year to generate demand in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and Cambodia.
There will be joint promotions for special packages to Thailand from March with approximately 20,000 packages to be sold in the next two to three months.
Mr Thanet said the TAT continues to create partnerships with airlines, including Thai AirAsia, which will operate international flights to Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia this month, plus the Cambodia route that has already started.
Woranate Laprabang, Thai Vietjet chief executive, said the key factors to attract tourists are the relaxation of travel rules, the number of new COVID cases and appealing promotional campaigns.
Thai Vietjet will resume the Bangkok ‒ Danang route from Mar 27 with three flights a week, while the Bangkok ‒ Phnom Penh route will start from Mar 16.
At present, the airline also flies from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City with six flights per week.
He said the next possible destinations are Singapore in May, Fukuoka in June, Taipei in July and Ahmedabad around mid-2022.