THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Visa fee waiver extension sought for Songkran

Visa fee waiver extension sought for Songkran

BANGKOK: The government has been asked to extend the waiver of visa-on-arrival (VOA) fees past Jan 13 and to the end of April to lure international visitors during Songkran.

tourismChineseeconomicsculture
By Bangkok Post

Monday 3 December 2018, 11:02AM


Chinese tourists enjoy water splashing on Khao San Road during Songkran, one of the highlights of the low-season calendar. Photo: Apichart Jinakul / Bangkok Post

Chinese tourists enjoy water splashing on Khao San Road during Songkran, one of the highlights of the low-season calendar. Photo: Apichart Jinakul / Bangkok Post

Wichit Prakobkosol, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), said the two-month fee exemption for 21 countries, which began on Nov 15, is too short for tour businesses to arrange marketing plans.

Normally travel operators need 30-60 days in advance for arranging trips and travel packages, especially for big tour groups.

For instance, the Chinese market generally takes one month for marketing and collecting customers, and a further month for booking and getting airline seats, Mr Wichit said.

He said waiving the VOA fee should help restore China and other markets, but the initiative will have better results if the exemption period is extended.

Mr Wichit said many Chinese tourists will come to Thailand in the first week of February to celebrate Chinese New Year, while tourists from other countries, especially in Southeast Asia, will come to enjoy Songkran in April.

“If the VOA scheme is extended, we believe that the number of Chinese tourists will increase to 3 million in the first quarter next year, the same as the first quarter this year,” he said. “But if it is not extended, arrivals from mainland China will total about 2.5 million.”

Growth in the China market in 2019 is unlikely to reach 10% as in recent years, due to factors such as China’s economic slowdown, the weakening of the yuan and trade tensions between China and the US.

“Optimistically, I hope the China market will grow 5-8% this year,” Mr Wichit said.

Atta on Friday (Nov 30) revealed figures for the use of services of its members in November, before and after the VOA fee waiver.

Tourists travelling to Thailand dropped in the range of 11-30% a day during Nov 1-14 compared with the year-earlier period. Despite improvement in the latter half of the month, the figure remained in contraction.

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET

Atta expects improvement in the numbers this month and a resumption of growth in January.

The VOA scheme is apt to spur other key markets such as India, one of the 21 nations included in the fee waiver.

According to statistics of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, Indian tourists visiting Thailand totalled 1.28 million in the first 10 months this year, up from 1.18 million in the year-earlier period, a gain of 11.2%.

As of Nov 20, Indian tourists using Atta were up 8.5%, from 221,478 to 240,357.

India is one of the emerging markets for Thai tourism in the next five to 10 years, due to its rapid economic growth and large population.

“We’re watching and preparing for the next wave of the India market,” Mr Wichit said. “It may surpass China with over 10mn visitors a year, perhaps within the next decade.”

Atta predicts total Chinese tourists in Thailand to reach 10.5mn this year, down from an earlier forecast of 12mn, due to declining visitor numbers in the wake of the Phoenix tour boat disaster off Phuket in July, which killed 47 Chinese tourists.

The group expects 11.5mn Chinese arrivals in 2019.

 

Read original story here.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Pauly44 | 04 December 2018 - 14:43:20

In reality they only want the money the tourism brings, to heck with the people its bleeding obvious for everyone except the apologists on this forum!

Foot | 03 December 2018 - 15:07:37

Thailand should decide if it wants tourists or not.

If so, why charge ANY visa fee to those who want to spend money here?  

Why eliminate all the beach attractions?

Why have dual pricing to attractions?

Why not provide safe conditions for them?

If Thailand wants tourists, why not welcome tourists instead of treating them as a nuisance?

Kurt | 03 December 2018 - 12:42:45

Mainland chinese friends tell me they prefer celebrating chinese new year holiday in Vietnam or Singapore  above a thai songkran holiday.. Do ATTA and TAT understand that?

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Powerful motorcycles to face tougher regulations

What a joke !!! Try improving your stupid & what appear to non existent helmet laws in the first...(Read More)


Japan resumes commercial whaling for first time in 30 years

Long Live The Japanese Whaling Industry ! Greens Cost Jobs & The Only True Wilderness is Betwe...(Read More)


Police begin hunt for foreign man over attacking dog

Agree this is not on. The poor animal can't be blamed for doing what comes naturally. But the pu...(Read More)


Police begin hunt for foreign man over attacking dog

freaking out people running around angry with long knife or any other weapon should not be accepted....(Read More)


Police begin hunt for foreign man over attacking dog

I would like to volunteer,-giving this deranged POS exactly the same treatment !...(Read More)


Running Empty: Water officials to splash B277mn on private sources as reservoirs fail to fill

A lot of water contract talks ( including 30% arrangements?). However, that will not grand Phuket wa...(Read More)


Running Empty: Water officials to splash B277mn on private sources as reservoirs fail to fill

Bang Wad water reservoir is ready for making it a beginners drive for golf players. The grass just n...(Read More)


PHUKET XTRA: VIDEO: Second Phuket water crisis? ’Peace walk’ monk returns! Dangerously sweet! || July 12

No, not a second water crisis. Phuket still remains in it's 'first' water crisis, as not...(Read More)


Surin Beach’s temporary lifeguards on hold until further notice

This article shows plainly that as long Cherng Talay Tambon Administration not gets a good Chief/May...(Read More)


After Phuket student killed by electrocution, officials assure public park areas are safe

The PEA always insist that the neutral wire be earthed at the breaker, that way any leakage will tri...(Read More)