It was a huge pleasure to join Khun Chattan, Deputy Governor for International Marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and Joanna Cooke of TAT for lunch at One Pico this week.
Also in attendance were Joanna Cooke, Tourism Authority of Thailand; Elaine Crowley; Sarah Slattery; Jacinta McGlynn and Barry Coughlan.
It’s the first time to visit Ireland in an official capacity for three years, and their message was a resoundingly positive one: Thailand is open again! There are no restrictions, no testing or quarantine requirements.
And there’s more good news for wannabe visitors to the Land of Smiles: the visa has been extended from 30 to 45 days, which means holidaymakers can really make the most of their Thai holiday.
The extended visa change reflects the spirit of TAT’s new tourism campaign, ‘Always Warm,’ which serves to highlight Thailand as a winter sun destination with a value for money angle to encourage travellers to leave the European winter behind either as a holiday or as a long stay visitor as a retiree or digital nomad.
There’s also plenty of optimism when it comes to tourism numbers: in 2022 so far the Kingdom has welcomed 19,627 Irish visitors – still a long way to go before it reaches the nearly 70,000 of 2019, but even a 28% return is seen as very good news. This is expected to rise to 30% of pre-pandemic numbers by the end of the year and increase dramatically in 2023.
In the meantime, there was fine food to be had in excellent company!