Despite the encouraging figures, the recovery of tourism in Thailand is not as strong as expected, the industry is far from having regained the situation before the Covid-19.
The sector is calling on the government to take emergency measures to come to its aid.
The government at the bedside of the tourism industry
The hospitality sector urges the new government to urgently introduce effective measures to revive the country’s tourism industry.
He is also calling for support measures to help him set up the daily minimum wage of 450 baht (12.09 euros).
This salary enhancement had been presented as one of the flagship promises of the electoral campaign.
The sector remains very attentive to the fate that will be reserved for the proposal made during the election campaign, by the leader of the Move Forward party, Pita Limjaroenrat, to free up funds to help small provincial towns become more attractive to foreign visitors. .
Pita had cited this proposal as one of the urgent economic measures to be taken in the first 100 days of the government’s mandate.
The aim is to attract more tourists to provincial towns far from the tourist trails.
“What are the benefits of seeing Thailand’s tourism revenue, which is 2 trillion baht and comes mainly from overseas markets, concentrated in just five provinces while other provinces don’t benefit? asked Mr. Pita at a forum held in February.
This is a project already formulated on many occasions by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT):
Thailand wants to attract tourists to lesser-known places
During the question-and-answer session that followed Pita’s speech, he said:
“It’s been a long time since the government has invested significant funds to promote small provincial towns.”
“I proposed to offer financial assistance to these cities in order to attract more tourists there.
Places like Phrae, Mae Hong Son, Satun, Phatthalung and many other places are too often neglected by visitors due to the lack of attractiveness and infrastructure, especially regarding transport. “.
He mentioned this plan again on May 25 after the electoral victory of his Move Forward party.
“Throughout the campaign, I visited many tourist destinations in Thailand.
I found that there are places much more interesting than the ones that tourists frequent today. »
“I want to see Thai tourism recover as quickly as possible from the situation caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
I wish there were more visitors and that they would be encouraged to stay longer.
I also want the tourism industry to be more dispersed across the territory and not concentrated in just a few places as is still the case today. »
Industry professionals call for urgent action
The President of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Chamnan Srisawat, recalls in this regard that Mr. Pita had also stressed the importance of closer collaboration between the public and private sectors in order to facilitate the development of cities in province.
“The labor issue is a pressing issue for the tourism sector that the new government should address immediately. »
This issue should, he said, be considered a matter of national interest.
The TCT offers two main solutions:
– First, improve the skills of the workforce working in the tourism sector by raising their level of training in line with the government’s ambitious plan to raise the minimum wage to 450 baht per day.
In this regard, the TCT intends to collaborate with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry in charge of professional training so that an effective training program is quickly put in place.
Chamnan stressed that it was not a question here of reducing labor costs for the benefit of companies, but rather of increasing the wages of highly qualified personnel.
– Second, the Council suggests that the government regulate and facilitate the recruitment of foreign labour.
The TCT asked the Ministry of Labor to make an assessment of the lack of qualified personnel that the sector would need in all provinces in order to determine the number of foreign workers required.
Adith Chairattananon, honorary general secretary of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), also urged the new government to give priority to promoting tourism.
He insisted on the need for financial support from the sector and the importance to be given to the training of more qualified personnel.
He also believes that there is an urgent need to amend certain laws to facilitate commercial activities.
Adith believes that Thailand’s tourism industry should play a major role in revitalizing the national economy.
“Tourism has been an essential engine in the generation and distribution of income in recent decades.
He strongly participated in the enrichment of the country and its modernization.
Currently, more than 84.5% of tourism revenue is concentrated in just seven provinces,” Adith lamented.
He suggested focusing on improving transport infrastructure, including airports.
See also: Thailand will build 7 new airports to cope with the influx of tourists
He would like measures to facilitate obtaining visas to also be implemented.
He in turn believes that everything must be done to attract more international tourists to less frequented provincial towns.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotel Association (THA), also supports the Move Forward party’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to 450 baht per day.
She suggests that this reform be accompanied by financial aid to enable business leaders to increase the salaries of their staff.
This aid could take, according to her, the form of a tax reduction over a period of two years.
“This measure would be particularly beneficial for SMEs in the hotel sector which are still facing financial difficulties.
Many no longer have the means to renovate their establishments in order to continue their activities peacefully.
The hospitality industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic for more than three years.
Although there has been some recovery, it remains concentrated in the main tourist provinces.
Many small hotels far from major tourist centers have not benefited from this at all,” said Marisa.
The THA urged the new government to seriously consider a gradual increase in the minimum wage.
She believes that this will have to be done taking into account everyone’s economic situation and the economic realities of the various service sectors.
“Each type of work requires specific skills and abilities that lead to different levels of qualification.
This simple fact makes the universal application of the same wage rate impossible. she added.
“Wage increases should be evaluated during a period of economic improvement.
Tourism has not yet recovered as advertised.
The hospitality industry has only recovered about 70% from pre-Covid times.
At the current rate, and contrary to the projections that were made in 2023, it will take at least until 2024 before the industry fully recovers,” concluded Marisa.
Source: The Nation Thailand