A leading tourism chief has said that it is time Thailand opens up again to foreign tourists and Chinese tourists in particular.
The pandemic has left the Chinese largely friendless around the world and it’s time that Thailand’s “special relationship” with the Chinese was resumed.
But it is also time that the Thais get more of their hands on the tourism dollar and not let cash seep out of the country.
Surawat Akaraworamat, the secretary general of the Tourism Council of Thailand and vice president of ATTA was speaking at a seminar about Thai tourism and the economy.
“China is in trouble,” he said. “No one wants Chinese tourists but we (in Thailand) should welcome them back. We have always had a special relationship with the Chinese”.
He said that if Thailand opened up its airspace the Chinese would come in good numbers. There was no need for a high level of marketing. They know very well about Thailand and would flood back in.
Surawat said it was time for those in tourism areas to be asked their opinions about reopening the country.
And time for the state and business operators to work more closely together.
Foreign tourists in general – who spend an average of 50,000 baht each – must be encouraged to return. They spend 2 trillion baht a year.
But Surawat said it was time for the Thais to review how to ensure that more tourism revenue stays in the country and does not flow abroad.
He was referring to companies – many of them Chinese owned or owned in Thailand through proxies – who are involved in organising group tours.
Much of the money ends up abroad and not in the hands of Thais.
This needs to be addressed, he said at the seminar, particularly in the booking of accommodation