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100 Million Domestic Trips May Be Overly Optimistic

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100 Million Domestic Trips May Be Overly Optimistic | Samui Times
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Even with local travel likely to resume first in Thailand, the goal of reaching 100 million domestic trips this year has some in the private sector claiming it may be an overshot.

“This new domestic target is reachable because local travel is likely to resume first, particularly for government meetings and incentives, which the cabinet has endorsed for internal agencies travelling within the country,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor.

The reasoning for this projection is due to the expectation that those who normally take outbound trips will choose to take domestic trips instead.

Yuthasak noted that last year there were 13 million outbound trips but many of these travellers cannot take any trips abroad this year. His predictions could be right as many online travel agencies are already reporting that Thai customers are booking locally for the holidays.

But Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said achieving 100 million trips this year would be difficult as every tourism-related activity during this quarter is on hold.

Despite some not agreeing with the targeted numbers, the plan is to upgrade safety and security standards as part of a tourism rehabilitation scheme the TAT is scheduled to unveil later this month.

Thailand did indeed do better than expected at containing the virus, with zero new cases yesterday, leading to restrictions being relaxed.

Phuriwat Limthavornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said, “Despite fewer new cases, social distancing rules have to be implemented in the long run. Operators are focusing more on how tourism will drive the economy without causing a second wave of infections, rather than achieving trip numbers.”

This month, the association plans to present domestic packages for state agencies, after operators obtain the Safety and Health Administration standards to convince this key market.

As sluggish demand is likely to continue until July, TCT expects only 10 million trips for the third quarter.

In the last quarter, the number may reach 40 million, but unfortunately the full-year performance will likely be too far from the ministry’s target, Mr Chairat said.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

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