The reopening of Hua Hin to fully vaccinated international tourists is due to take place on Monday (Nov 1).
For months, officials from the public and private sectors involved in tourism, business and public health have been planning the intricacies of reopen the town to foreign tourists after almost two years of closure.
However, one senior figure involved in the tourism industry has questioned how many foreign tourists will actually bother visiting Hua Hin at all from November 1.
Mr. Udom Srimahachota Honorary Advisor to the Thai Hotels Association and the Hua Hin-Cha-Am Tourism Business Association has given a realist prediction of the local tourism industry over the coming months.
He said that because of the COVID-19 situation in the province, tourists may be reluctant to come.
“Considering the number new of infections in Hua Hin is still quite high, it is not clear how many international tourists are interested in visiting”, said Mr Udom.
He added that it is more likely to be mid December before Hua Hin sees any significant increase in foreign tourist arrivals.
This would be for a number of reasons, some of which are beyond Thailand’s control, such as the availability of international flights and travel restrictions imposed by other countries on their own citizens returning. Mr Udom cited the restrictions put in place by the Chinese authorities as an example.
Mr Udom said that he believes foreign tourists will wait until later in the year to visit Thailand, once more flights become available as international air travel begins to increase.
Mr Udom added that Chinese tourists were once the main market for Thailand.
However, despite China being on the Thai government’s list of ‘low risk’ countries, the Chinese authorities are still restricting travel into and out of the country, including for Chinese nationals.
Only business travellers are permitted to travel to and from China, but once they return they must quarantine for 3 weeks at their own expense, on the orders of the Chinese authorities.
Mr Udom believes it will be the middle of 2022 before Chinese tourists start to visit Thailand again.