A leading Thai travel agent has put his weight behind moves by the tourism minister to continue free visa on arrival for Chinese and Indian visitors when the special period ends later in the year.
Chief of ATTA – the Association of Thai Travel Agents – Wichit Prakopkoson was responding to questions regarding the weakness of the Yuan and the strength of the Thai baht.
Wichit said that the money markets were directly affecting tourism in Thailand and that earlier targets of visitors from China would not be met.
Visitors from China would not be the anticipated 11.5 to 12 million of previous forecasts for this year.
Thailand would be lucky to see 11 million visitors from China this year meaning a shortfall of 20 to 40 billion baht in revenues.
He cautioned further that if the baht continues to appreciate then there might be only 10.5 million visitors from China, a step back to 2018 levels.
He said that Thailand was learning lessons and that the government should set up a low-interest fund to help small and middle-sized operators who are really feeling the pinch.
He felt that Tourism and Sports’ minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn’s move to continue to give Chinese and Indian tourists free visas on arrival would be a good way forward in these sluggish tourism times. –