Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

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.

QSI 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.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

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
Phuket Opinion: Recalibrating the retirement visa

I would bet most of the runners are tourists, not retirees....(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Recalibrating the retirement visa

“Dr Nutthawut also plainly pointed out that the government is looking to unload the burden of foot...(Read More)


Phuket Marine Office to destroy abandoned Chinese fishing boats

A great idea I read here from BenPendejo! Removal of hazardous/polluting stuff, and sink them somewh...(Read More)


Baby Jumbo is dead

Total disregard for the animals in their care. Many abused drugged animals for ‘use’ by tourists...(Read More)


Cabinet approves mandatory health insurance for long-stay visas

So it is the pesky long stay foreigners cheating the hospitals. Go to private hospital and you have...(Read More)


Phuket elephant rides in the sea given all clear

These DLD guys are useless idiots. How many times have we heard about them visiting that horrible Zo...(Read More)


Phuket Marine Office to destroy abandoned Chinese fishing boats

Oh boy. Let's see how this turns out. I guess some locals decided they want a few parts. I'm...(Read More)


Baby Jumbo is dead

They created a "special area" for him to recover. The idiots didn't think that a mud h...(Read More)


Baby Jumbo is dead

Third World Country's like Thailand should not have the right to have a Zoo they don't unde...(Read More)


Phuket elephant rides in the sea given all clear

Do they understand that the tide moves in and out? That the elephants will be trampling different ar...(Read More)