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Thai tourism officials hopeful 6 million European travellers will arrive this year

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The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says he expects 6 million European tourists to visit the kingdom this year, according to a Bangkok Post report. This figure would be 80% of pre-Covid levels and should generate around 420 billion baht of a total expected tourism revenue of 1.5 trillion baht for 2023.

Yuthasak Supasorn, who was speaking while attending one of Europe’s biggest travel fairs, ITB Berlin 2023, says he’s confident Thailand will see pent-up travel demand among European tourists for the next year or two, in particular from Russia, the UK, and Germany.

“I am confident Thailand remains the top destination in Asia for European markets.”

The TAT governor acknowledges some challenges remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, the risk of recession, a lack of flight capacity, and the tourism sector’s ongoing struggle with labour shortages. He adds that come the second quarter of 2023, traditionally seen as the “low season” for European tourists, the TAT will shift its marketing focus to target the Middle East and China.

Meanwhile, limited flight numbers and frequencies are leading to higher airfares, with Yuthasak saying his agency expects to see an increase in demand for visa extensions. The TAT says a temporary extension of permitted stays on tourist visas and visas on arrival from 30 to 45 days, and 15 to 30 days, respectively, means tourists are staying longer, boosting tourism revenue. However, a proposal to extend the scheme until the end of March has not yet received Cabinet approval.

Meanwhile, a third ground handling operator is expected to be approved for Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by the end of the year, to alleviate delays and congestion.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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