Mr. Thanet, center right, and Mr. Santisuk, center left, at a recent press conference.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to attract 1.75 million tourists from short-haul markets this year as more countries reopen, and will partner with Thai AirAsia (TAA) to offer at least 18,000 package tours over the next few months.
Thanet Phetsuwan, TAT’s deputy marketing governor for Asia and the South Pacific, said the authority must actively promote tourism as airlines resume international flights, borders are lifted and people learn to live with Covid-19.
TAT wants 1.1 million tourists from Southeast Asia to visit this year, given that they can now largely travel without restrictions, while cross-border tourism could become even easier.
The target for Australia is around 200,000 tourists, while for India it is 450,000.
Mr Thanet said TAT has partnered with TAA to boost international visitors by launching joint promotions in different countries to attract at least 18,000 inbound package tours between April and July.
The goal is for Vietnam to see 11,000 package tours, mostly from independent travelers and families with children, and 3,000 Singaporean trips, made up of millennials and young couples.
Meanwhile, the campaign is also targeting the medical and wellness segments of Malaysia and Cambodia, which are expected to secure 1,000 package tours from each country.
TAT will also launch the “Nang Fah Pa Tiew” campaign with local airlines between April and June using crews as micro-influencers to help promote tourism.
“We have overcome the bottom of the pandemic and are ready to take off from the second quarter,” said Santisuk Klongchaiya, general manager of TAA.
The Maldives performed well with a 70-80% load factor in April, while Singapore-Phuket routes, Malaysia and Vietnam also received positive feedback.
Mr Santisuk said Indian road operators will need to continue working with the TAT to promote themselves.
TAA’s target is 12 million passengers this year, 30% of which would be international tourists.
Whenever the Test & Go program comes to an end, Mr Santisuk said more flexible tourism policies, such as visa on arrival, should be reintroduced to help boost the numbers.
For the upcoming Songkran Festival, TAA’s load factor for major destinations like Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Krabi is expected to be 90%.
Other provinces will have a load factor of over 80%, despite no splashing water, as people return to their hometowns.