ATTA urges govt to consider Chinese tourists or risk 2 million people being left jobless

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The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) believes some 2 million people in the tourism industry will end up being unemployed if foreign tourists do not return to Thailand in huge numbers.

ATTA president Wichit Prakobkosol submitted a petition with the Tourism and Sports Ministry, asking for the government to allow the entry of travellers from 22 provinces in China that are safe from Covid-19.

The provinces eyed by ATTA include Zhejiang, Anhui, Chongqing, Hebei, Hubei, Hunan, and Fujian.

Wichit added that once the government opens borders, these 22 provinces alone will provide 300,000 tourists monthly, who should generate more than Bt15 billion revenue per month, he added.

He said 150,000 workers in tour businesses have been laid off by more than 10,000 firms. However, this job loss is temporary for 90 per cent of workers, while the remaining 10 per cent have lost their jobs permanently. He also said tour business operators should be given access to soft loans.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn was scheduled to meet 15 hotel operators on Monday. He said these operators wanted to know what kind of assistance they can expect from the government.

Separately, the Tourism Authority of Thailand will meet next Tuesday to come up with a tourism recovery plan for 2021 and 2022, which will then be proposed to the Cabinet for approval.