Thailand plans to rebrand tourism in the post-coronavirus era to “Amazing Trusted Thailand”, aimed at selective markets and destinations in the country that can guarantee health and safety standards for both tourists and locals.
“We estimate international markets will return in October, so all related agencies are working on a proper recovery plan that won’t risk a second wave of the pandemic after our proven record of effective virus control during the first wave,” said Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
“Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha suggested we use this opportunity to rebrand Thai tourism as a quality destination where we care more about trust than carrying capacity.”
He said the makeover features three combinations of new and old tourism concepts, including an effective and recognised public health system, unique and outstanding gastronomy and culture, and natural beauty and Thai people.
With Thailand looking to exit lockdown this month, TAT is preparing a strategy for the second stage — matching foreign tourists from countries that were removed from the list of “Disease-Infected Zones for Covid-19” with select provinces that never reported infections, or provinces that have not had a new case in the past 28 days.
The agency is conducting surveys nationwide, seeking consensus from communities to kick-start tourism activities.
“Our plan to open up for international tourists will not be the same as the plan for locals. In the near future, a discussion between Thailand and targeted countries will be necessary before any exchange of tourists. Both Thais and other countries are worried about the pandemic, as they don’t want to send their citizens here and have them bring the virus back home,” said Mr Yuthasak.
Islands such as Phuket or Samui may be the first batch of destinations to welcome international tourists as their geography allows authorities to more easily control and keep track of tourists.
He said the agency also plans to introduce the International Tourists Bridge project, adapted from the Georgia tourism model, which aims at attracting high-end foreign tourists from the European cluster.
Thailand is looking at high spenders within the region, such as Singapore, China and Vietnam, to visit designated areas in Thailand under a quota.
These tourists can visit selected destinations without being subjected to 14-day quarantine measures, but they have to provide health certification, fit-to-fly certificates and buy health insurance before visiting Thailand, while rapid testing will be available upon arrival.
The agency will provide tourism safety standards for the Safety and Health Administration at every touch point and track digital platforms to manage the flow of tourists.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the ministry plans to discuss the tourism rehabilitation plan with Gen Prayut this week and propose the plan to the cabinet meeting next week.
The plan requires 10-20 billion baht from the 400-billion-baht budget used for economic rehabilitation projects after the outbreak.
In a meeting on Monday between the Tourism and Sports Ministry and chairman of the TAT board, Thosaporn Sirisumphand, the TAT was approved to revise this year’s foreign arrivals target to 14-16 million. The outlook for domestic trips was projected at 100 million, with total revenue of 1.23 trillion baht.