Thailand to “focus on quality tourists who can spend more”

Hua Hin Beach. File photo

The post pandemic recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector will focus on quality rather than quantity, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said earlier this week.

The Thai government recently announced ambitious plans to attract one million foreign tourists by April next year.

The arrival foreign tourists will be helped by the easing of restrictions, including the removal of the mandatory quarantine requirement for all visitors to Thailand from November 1.

Pre-pandemic, Thailand welcomed approximately 40 million foreign tourists, with the tourism sector accounting for an estimated 12% GDP.

However, with the country all but closed for almost two years and despite the mixed success of its various ‘Sandbox’ programs, the Thai government is eager to kick start its tourism sector, left decimated by the pandemic.

Speaking at the Bangkok Post Forum 2021, DPM Supattanapong said: “Instead of relying on 40 million tourists to generate 2 trillion baht in revenue, we will turn to focus on quality tourists who can spend more.”

“This will be good for the country’s environment and natural resources,” he added.

The Thai government also recently announced plans to attract one million foreign expats to the country.

In September, the Cabinet gave the green light for Thailand to offer 10 year visas in a bid to attract so-called ‘wealthy foreigners’ to relocate to the country.

Dr. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, disclosed that the Cabinet has approved in principle a host of economic and investment stimulus measures aimed at attracting high-potential foreigners to Thailand for long-term stay.

The focus will be to attract foreigners from four specific groups dubbed, ‘rich’ global citizens, digital nomads, ‘wealthy’ retirees and highly skilled professionals.

They would be enticed to live in Thailand long term with the offer of 10 year visas, relaxed rules with regards to property ownership and the option to work in Thailand without needing a work permit.