A tourist looks at the sunrise on Long Ruea Ta Muen Mountain, a new tourist destination in Noen Maprang district of Phitsanulok, on Monday. (Photo: Chinnawat Singha)
Thai travellers are shrugging off concerns about the Covid-19 Omicron variant, with a recent survey indicating local tourists would generate 5.72 billion baht in the upcoming long-weekend holiday.
The new variant has sparked unease among some families with children and elderly members, but overall travellers are preparing to hit the road as the survey conducted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) suggested 1.84 million local trips will be made between Dec 10-12, helping to generate 5.72 billion baht for the domestic economy.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the 2-million-room hotel subsidy from the government is a major contributor to the growth of long holiday bookings.
As there are fewer than 90,000 rooms available in this programme, the agency plans to hold discussions with the private sector this week about increasing room quotas and extending the travel period from the end of January 2022.
According to the survey, the average hotel occupancy rate nationwide this weekend is expected to be around 40%.
Tourists are confident to travel in Thailand because the vaccination rate surpassed 50% and most people have learned to adopt preventive measures, found the survey.
Daily Covid-19 cases tallied 3,525 on Tuesday, the lowest since July.
The eastern provinces are expected to generate 1.4 billion baht from roughly 362,000 travellers this weekend, followed by 1.3 billion from 272,500 travellers flocking to northern Thailand for its cool weather this month.
By province, the most visited destinations are still the famous areas in each region, including Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, Rayong and Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The relaxation of mass gathering rules at tourism destinations is another factor, allowing events such as Chiang Mai Street Jazz 2021, from Nov 4-11, and the two-month-long Pattaya Music Festival 2021.
Meanwhile, Thai VietJet reported its average load factor for the high season is more than 80%, above expectations.
Air ticket bookings in the final quarter are predicted to be robust as most local travellers who cannot travel abroad are taking domestic trips instead.
The airline has 16 aircraft and plans to add four more to the fleet this year in response to growing domestic demand and the possibility of international routes resuming next year.Internet Explorer Channel Network