Thailand makes plan to revive tourism once COVID-19 declared endemic hinh anh 1Visitors to a pagoda in Chiang Mai, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Bangkok (VNA) - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is preparing a plan to relax travel rules in line with the timeline to declare COVID-19 an endemic disease on July 1, local media reported.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the tourism goals for revenue and arrivals this year might be downgraded because of surging oil prices and inflation caused by the Russia - Ukraine conflict.

He said the plan to label COVID-19 endemic from the second half of the year will lead to further relaxations, including the termination of Thailand Pass, marking a milestone for the industry.

The official held that Thailand should adopt safety procedures and learn lessons from other countries that have already opened up to ensure it remains competitive in luring international tourists.

Key source markets include India, which has an air travel bubble agreement with Thailand, as well as Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, which plans to fully reopen from March 15. Malaysia agreed to reopen its land border with Thailand on April 1.

TAT wants to closely monitor the Russia - Ukraine conflict as it has triggered soaring oil prices, which directly affect airline costs. The authority will wait until the end of this month before providing a new tourism forecast for this year, according to the official.

Meanwhile, the domestic market requires reassessment as local tourists may continue to travel, but for fewer days and with minimal spending because of higher oil prices and inflation.

Yuthasak affirmed that tourism is still a key engine to revive Thailand’s economy, even though revenue was stymied by negative factors.

This year’s tourism revenue goal is 1.28 trillion THB (38.45 billion USD), of which 626 billion THB is to come from 10 million international tourists and another 656 billion THB from 160 million domestic trips.

Before the pandemic, tourism contributed 3 trillion THB to the Thai economy in 2019, making up 18 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). That consisted of 2 trillion THB from foreign tourists (12 percent of GDP) and 1 trillion THB from domestic ones (6 percent)./.