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Kata beach, Phuket. (Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai)

Kasikorn Research Centre has revised its forecast on the total number of international visitors to 150,000 this year from the previous projection of at least 250,000 arrivals.

The main reason is because of a rising number of Covid-19 infections during the third wave of the pandemic, beginning in April until today. More than 1.2 million people have been infected and about 1% or at least 12,000 people died because of Covid-19.

The impact of the Delta variant resulted in stricter travel rules in many countries. Some countries including the United Kingdom have added Thailand to its travel red list, meaning Thais are banned from travelling to the UK while their nationals are required to spend 10 nights in a quarantined hotel upon return.

Although several countries have implemented a vaccine passport system to ease travel-related obstacles, Thailand still has strict rules for fully vaccinated foreign tourists. For example, the government requires the tourists to book a 14-day hotel quarantine before flying to Thailand and offer limited routes and activities in designated destinations.

As a result, the research centre projects that international tourist arrivals in 2021 will be lower than its prior estimation. The number will likely reach 150,000 visitors, down from the previous forecast between 250,000 and 650,000, according to Kasikorn.

According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, the total number of international arrivals during the first half of this year was 58,503 arrivals, down 99% from 6.7 million visitors during the same period last year.

The top visitors were from the United States (7,838 travellers), followed by the United Kingdom (5,461), Germany (4,516 travellers), China (4,023), France (3,091), South Korea (2,270), Japan (2,028), Russia (1,889), Israel (1,746) and Myanmar (1,718).

Based on the current pandemic situation, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has recently revised its projections.

TAT expects at least 300,000 tourists although the target is about 1.2 million international visitors. Earnings are forecast at 85 billion baht. The new target is revised from the previous forecast of 3 million international arrivals at the beginning of this year.

TAT is still optimistic about the tourism industry that the target is achievable when more popular tourist destinations including Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai welcome foreign tourists in the fourth quarter of this year.

EV trains on the way

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has announced a plan to speed up its electric power train project to be implemented in the next two years.

The project is called “EV On Train”, with plans calling for purchase of new locomotives with multiple hybrid diesel-electric units that will replace some old dual diesel engines with battery-electric locomotives, according to the State Railway of Thailand.

It plans to pilot test four electric trains by 2023.


AIRLINES UPDATE

– Thai VietJet will launch direct flights between Phuket and Chiang Mai on Sept 15.

The flight will be available on Wednesday and Sunday. The two-hour flight will depart Phuket airport at 9.50am and the return flight will depart Chiang Mai airport at 12.25pm.

In addition, the airline will also introduce two more direct flights from Phuket to Chiang Rai on Oct 1 and Udon Thani on Nov 10.

Visit skyfun.vietjetair.com.


HOTEL DEALS & UPDATES

– U Hotel Khao Yai has extended the “Ur Flexible Hot Deal” promotion, offering up to 30% discounts.

Prices start from 1,609++ baht for a night stay in a Superior Room to 8,679++ baht for a Family Room set for up to nine guests. The rate includes breakfast for two and 24-hour room use.

Visit uhotelsresorts.com.

– Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort offers the “Chase Endless Summers (Au Soleil)” promotion.

Rates start from 2,950++ baht for a night stay in a Deluxe Garden View Room. The promotion includes daily breakfast for two and a scoop of gelato or sorbet per person.

In addition, the hotel also offers the Chiang Rai Escape package for a minimum of seven nights. Prices start from 2,000 baht net per night.

Visit marriott.com/hotels/travel/CEIMD-le-meridien-chiang-rai-resort-thailand.

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