Thai tourism body hopes to redirect international bookings for domestic trips instead


People visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok on June 7, 2020, as it reopened for visitors following restrictions to halt the spread of the Covid-19. The proposal to swap international bookings for domestic ones is expected to stimulate domestic tourism in the second half of 2020. - AFP

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN): The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will discuss with hotels, airlines and online travel agents the idea of swapping customers’ bookings for flights to foreign countries and accommodations there for domestic flights and accommodations instead.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said he wanted flight bookings to foreign countries and reservations for overseas accommodations, which customers couldn’t use due to the Covid-19 crisis, to be converted into domestic flights and accommodation.

This would stimulate domestic tourism in the second half of the year, he explained.

Customers who agree to swap their international bookings for domestic ones will receive an incentive in the form of a discount.

TAT estimates that the scheme would redirect 50 per cent of Thai bookings from the foreign tourism market back to Thailand. Domestic trips would increase to 12 million persons, he said.

“TAT must quickly find new strategies to stimulate tourism, after Japan planned to restart flights to low-risk countries, including Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, ” the governor added.

Last week, TAT discussed two tourism stimulus packages with the Commerce Ministry, one being 'Tyo Pan Suk' (Travelling and Sharing Happiness) and the other being a scheme to help officials who have been directly involved in tackling the virus.

Under the first package, tourists aged 18 or older could register to receive vouchers for hotel discounts. People who use the vouchers to check in at hotels will receive discounts on rooms, restaurants and spa treatments and get souvenirs at lower prices. Around 4 million will be eligible.

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