Considering its low exchange rates and ease of visa, Thailand has always been the go-to destination for an Indian traveler.
In an exclusive interview with Voyager’s World, Cholada Siddhivarn, Director, Western and Southern India, Tourism Authority of Thailand, talks about what the future holds for Thailand post the Covid crisis.
2020 got off to a bad start. The tourism industry globally has taken a big hit due to the deadly Coronavirus. Tell us about your observations from the beginning of January.
COVID-19 has taken its toll on the vibrant travel and hospitality industry. The industry has seen a sharp decline in arrivals globally. The downturn has hit all categories of the tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants, activities, homestays, and MICE (meeting, incentive, convention, exhibition). The government of both countries is actively working to create a safer environment for the citizens. This alarming situation has got all of us together and we shall overcome this soon.
Considering India has been a source market for Thailand, what’s the decline you will be witnessing?
As of now, we have witnessed a drastic drop in Indian arrivals to Thailand. Purely due to the safety measure undertaken by the government of both countries to protect the citizen. Moreover, people will not be in a mood to travel owing to COVD-19. I am hoping to see this situation change soon so that we all can start fresh.
Five steps governments across the world must take to help boost tourism during this crisis.
Given the current situation, I am very proud of the measures taken by the government to ensure the safety of the citizen. The government needs to focus on eradicating COVD-19. Once the situation is in control, that’s when we should be looking at strategies and actions that can help tourism industries to overcome the losses made.
As a tourism board, what steps are you taking to propel your business forward during these hard times?
COVD-19 has hit the tourism industry badly. Our current focus is to keep our audience and travel trade partners updated on all the advisories issued by the Thai government. While we do that, we are also working on our promotional plans to capitalize on the next season. But for now, all I want is for people to stay safe and follow all precautionary measures suggested by the experts. Let us all overcome this pandemic together and travel back again to our favorite destination.
How long do you think it will be until it’s business as usual?
The scare of COVD-19 is deep-rooted and will take a while for tourists across the globe, to travel again which I cannot tell when. Many businesses are now facing very hard time. I am not sure if we can see the same face when the Covid19 is over. The traveling pattern of people might change too.
What will give people the confidence to travel?
People won’t travel unless they feel it’s completely safe to do so.
We, at Tourism Authority of Thailand, respect the current sentiments and will wait for the situation to be in control before we welcome tourist to Thailand with open arms. Let us all pray and hope for the safety of our fellow members.