Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Emiratis at 130,158 were the leading foreign visitors from the Middle East to Thailand in 2019.
Gulf Today obtained the number of the top five Middle East nationals who had visited the Southeast Asian monarchy on Monday as the Tourism Authority of Thailand-Dubai and Middle East gave an update on how Bangkok is addressing the impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) on the industry.
TAT, whose main headquarters in Bangkok, is under the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. It was established decades back to promote the country’s tourism industry, the 2019 revenue of which was at $62 billion or $4 billion higher than the 2018 $58 billion.
Regional director Pichaya Saisaengchan said that looking ahead and forward to the post-COVID19, the organisation, alongside 13 other government and private institutions, was “working on the details of the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification criteria and programme.
SHA aims not only to re-energise but also to accelerate the tourism industry which, on the average per year, attends to 39 million foreign guests with 500,000 from the Middle East and North Africa.
Saisaengchan said that of the 500,000 from the region in 2019, 383,231 were from the Gulf states which, aside from the UAE, included Oman at 85,680; Kuwait, 78,199; and another at 33,285. From Iran were 55,909.
“As the pandemic has currently halted travel, we have taken this time to prepare ourselves for when retrictions are lifted,” Saisaengchan said.
He explained: “SHA certification puts emphasis on hygiene and sanitation measures across all stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector in order to inspire confidence in our visitors and assure them that we are taking all the necessary precautions during their time with us.”
Bangkok’s Post-COVID19 travel and tourism components are:
* Tourism establishments and services to strictly follow the COVID19 control guidelines by the Ministry of Public Health-Department of Disease Control.
* Tourism attractions and facilities to develop plans or operation procedures that guarantee tourist safety while maintaining local culture and promoting interaction between local communities and tourists.
* World standard hygiene and sanitation within homestays, lodges, souvenir shops, restaurants and similar outlets.
* Convenience, cleanliness and safety of linkages between communities and attractions, as well as the safety and health standards of all modes of transporation.
* The confidence in personnel in tourism establishments, including safety and security protocol.
While it is expected that hand washing is a norm, doing so has become more instilled since 2020 due to the entry of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and a consultant dermatologist has cautioned, having co-related dry hands and a skin disease, with intense hand hygiene routines, including the excessive use of hand sanitisers.
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