Lack of flights and rising fuel prices hit tourism

Foreign guests are queuing to check in for a flight at Suvarnabhumi Airport. (Photo: Somchai Pumlard)

Insufficient international arrivals and rising airfare are making it difficult for the Thai tourism industry to recover.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said international flights are only 30% of pre-pandemic levels. He said that in order to revive the entire industry, the country must have at least 55% of the capacity of airlines registered before the pandemic.

This could happen in the fourth quarter as Korean Air and Air Canada confirmed their non-stop flight schedules.

Air Canada plans to launch its first direct route from Vancouver to Bangkok with four flights a week from December 1, 2022 to April 17, 2023. Korean Air said it will resume flights to Thailand in the fourth quarter.

However, many airlines are reluctant to expand their routes or increase flight frequencies as several global uncertainties threaten profits, including high operating costs caused by soaring fuel prices and longer flight times needed to avoid flights over the zone of Russian-Ukrainian hostilities.

“Tourists are facing higher travel costs, especially due to inflation and airfare that has risen by 20-40%. TAT is working with airlines to roll out promotions to help offset these costs. However, for the summer season in Europe in August, it may be too late to prepare any stimulus packages,” Mr. Yutasak said.

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