With stricter regulations in place on international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has decided to shift its focus to boost its local tourism. The government agency has announced that it is seeking to convert half a dozen million Thai tourists expected to travel abroad, encouraging them to go local instead.

As the onslaught of the novel virus continues worldwide, TAT has set out to plan a campaign that will concentrate on its local market with enough buying power and desire to travel.

The agency, headed by Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, will be in talks with the tourism industry leaders, such as hotels, airlines, and travel agencies the following week regarding the proposed project.

The tourism governor has stated his confidence in the planned travel scheme alongside the biggest local travel operators’ involvement, devising attractive packages to entice the Thai market. The said proposal intends to convert 6 million of the outbound market to local tourists, doubling the number of domestic trips.

With some countries easing through the new normal, the Japanese government is now weighing on loosening its travel regulations on visitors from its neighboring states such as Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand, due to their efficiency in controlling its cases. There were an estimated 1.31 million Thai tourists in Japan in 2019, while the numbers earlier this year before the pandemic are at 210,049.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand have designated the agency to examine countries within the Asia Pacific who have shown effective management of the pandemic as well as established economic ties with Thailand for possible ‘travel bubbles’. The governing authority has announced that the number of foreign visitors flying in the country would be limited to inhibit the rise of new COVID-19 cases. They are eyeing business travelers of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry and those from the medical tourism sector to be the kingdom nation’s first group of visitors.

On the other hand, the private sector has requested the government to push for the resumption of domestic flights and use Phuket as its standard in implementing its screening processes for land, air, and sea transport. Operators in Phuket have also suggested the limit of its visitors to 25,000 a day to best suit the capacity of its local health system.