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Thai travel pushes for regional airports to be upgraded

PHOTO: Flickr/Shai_Hulud

The Airlines Association of Thailand is calling for more regional airports to be designated ‘international’, which it says would lead to higher tourism revenue for so-called second-tier destinations.

AAT president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth wants to see more regional airports developed to accommodate international flights. He adds that the government could offset air travel expenditure by including airfares to second-tier cities in recently announced tax deduction measures.

Aviation bosses also expressed frustration with the limited lead time in the government’s visa announcements. Puttinpong says being given 2 – 3 months’ notice of new visa-free policies prior to them being implemented would allow tourists time to plan and book flights to Thailand.

In addition, Thai airlines are calling on the government to increase service agreements with India, pointing out that the previously agreed extra 7,000 seats a week is not enough for all carriers in the kingdom.

The president of the Thai Hotels Association says hotel operators want the government to introduce a subsidy similar to the previous We Travel Together stimulus scheme for Thais. Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun explains that this should target retirees, who have both the budget and free time to travel during the week.

Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents has expressed concern about the increase in foreign tour businesses he says are registering in Thailand using nominees.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn singles out businesses from China and Russia, which he says are employing a price dumping strategy that could affect market pricing and threaten the tourism industry by offering sub-standard services in a bid to keep operational costs low.

Yesterday, the PM met with the 55 provincial governors and told them regional infrastructure must be improved in order to handle the increase in tourism demand, including in transportation and other tourism offerings.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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