Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Thailand’s ‘Meaningful Relationship’ Campaign Romanticizes Tourism

4 months ago

The Tourism Authority of Thailand unveiled a new marketing campaign “Meaningful Relationship” at the World Travel Market event in London on Monday.

The heart of the campaign is to encourage tourists to create more than just travel memories, it’s about fostering connections with the people, communities, nature and Thailand itself.

In tune with evolving travel trends, Thailand recognizes the modern traveler’s inclination towards prioritizing experiences over ticking off bucket-list destinations.

The “Meaningful Relationship” campaign seeks to tap into this shift, inspiring travelers to form connections that transcend the ordinary and ultimately foster a bond with oneself.

The Film

The advertising film features tourists from Korea, France, and Portugal, showcasing the attractions of Kanchanaburi, Chumphon, Nakhon Phanom, and the vibrant metropolis of Bangkok.

Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, shared the campaign’s vision, stating, “The new ‘Meaningful Relationship’ marketing communication concept is designed to encourage travelers to engage in a meaningful connection, whether it is with themselves, the local people, the community, nature, or even with Thailand. When travelers form a relationship with the people they meet and the place they visit, they will have an opportunity to create lifelong friends, cherished recollections, and enjoyable moments.”

Moreover, December will also witness the launch of the “Thailand Always Cares” campaign, emphasizing Thailand’s commitment to ensuring a memorable experience for tourists.

Latest Tourism Figures from Thailand

Thailand’s ambitious goal is to attract 25-30 million tourists and generate THB 1.5 trillion ($43 billion) in revenue by the end of this year.

According to the latest available data, in the first 10 months of 2023 (January 1-October 31), Thailand recorded over 21.6 million arrivals and generated over THB 927 billion ($26 billion) in tourism revenue. The top five source markets being Malaysia, China, South Korea, India and Russia. 

The 2024 target is set at total revenue of THB 3 trillion ($84 billion) with THB 1.92 trillion ($54 billion) coming from the international market.

After granting visa free entry to Chinese tourists from September onwards, Thailand announced last week that it would grant visa-free entry to citizens from India and Taiwan from November 10 till May 2024.


Australia Reopens to Chinese Group Tourism

5 months ago

Australia has recommenced visa processing for Chinese group travel, Australia’s Ministry of Trade and Tourism announced on Monday.

The visa processing restart follows China’s lifting of pandemic-era restrictions last month on outbound group tours to Australia, the U.S., Japan and multiple other countries.

Australia reopened its borders to international travel in March this year. Since its reopening, Chinese tourism has slowly returned. In July, it reached 79,040, which was 50% of its pre-pandemic level.

Before the pandemic, China was Australia’s largest inbound tourism market in terms of spend. In 2019, Chinese group tours spent $581 million, which was about one-third of all Chinese travel spend in Australia.

“The resumption of Chinese group tour travel will provide another welcome boost for Australia’s hard-working tourism operators,” said Australia Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell.


Europe, Middle East to Reach Pre-Pandemic Tourism Levels in 2023: UNWTO

1 year ago

Both the Middle East and Europe are on track to reach their pre-pandemic levels in 2023 , according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Last year saw a stronger than expected recovery for the global tourism economy.

In 2022, more than 900 million tourists traveled internationally, double from 2021 but 63 percent of 2019 levels. International tourism receipts rose across most destinations. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) cited increases in average spending per trip due to longer stays, traveler willingness to spend more at destinations and higher travel costs due to inflation.

International tourists arrivals could reach between 80 to 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023. The potential economic slowdown, the Ukraine war, Asia Pacific’s recovery timeline and other factors will play a role in how quickly international travel returns to its pre-pandemic level.

The Middle East had the best comeback of all the regions last year. The region reached 83 percent of its pre-pandemic level. Europe reached around 80 percent. Africa and the Americas received around 63 percent of their pre-pandemic level. 

Asia Pacific had a rough year. The region reached only 23 percent of its pre-pandemic volume due to stronger pandemic restrictions, according to UNWTO. China’s zero-Covid policy was a big driver. For most of 2022,  the policy effectively shut China out of the global tourism economy. 

Tourism leaders have repeatedly said China’s absence has dragged the global recovery. “We look at Greater China, the zero Covid policy has continued to dampen recovery in a meaningful way,” said Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano at World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit.

With China now relaxing its policy, Asia Pacific and the world have made a significant step toward recovery. UNWTO said the availability and cost of air travel, visa regulations and COVID-19 related restrictions will shape how the recovery will play out.  At least 32 destinations have imposed travel restrictions on Chinese tourists. The U.S., for example, requires Chinese tourists to test negative for Covid no more than two days before departure.

Travel demand from the U.S., however, will continue to be strong in 2023 thanks to the strength of the American dollar, according to UNWTO. Europe in particular will enjoy strong travel flows because of the euro’s relative weakness compared to the dollar.


India Makes Covid Test Mandatory for Arrivals From China and 5 More Asian Countries

1 year ago

India is making a PCR Covid test mandatory for inbound arrivals from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, from January 1.

Passengers arriving in India from any of these six countries would be required to upload results of tests not older than 72 hours before departure along with a self-declaration on the Air Suvidha portal.

However, at the time of writing this story, the Air Suvidha portal was still not functional and the message reads, “You no longer need to complete the Air Suvidha Form.” 

Launched in August 2020 for international passengers to submit a self-declaration of their health status, the Air Suvidha portal, a digital health and travel document, had been discontinued in November this year.

Fearing another Covid surge, India had been conducting random tests of around 2 percent of international passengers flying into the country.

On Wednesday, officials at the Indian health ministry informed that of the nearly 6,000 passengers tested over the last three days, 39 were found to be positive.


Europe to Overtake Asia Pacific as World’s Largest Travel Region

1 year ago

The Asia Pacific region will no longer be the world’s largest travel region by the end of 2022, ceding the title to Europe. That’s according to a new report from international travel industry analysts at CAPACentre for Aviation.

The organization discussed how aviation in the region remains down by 45 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels while European air travel has recovered to roughly 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels. That being said, we believe the reason is that China is still locked up/locked down.

In 2019, 3.38 billion passengers transited through Asia Pacific airports. CAPA reported current predictions that only 1.84 billion passengers would pass through Asia Pacific hubs by the end of this year. Most travel in Asia Pacific destinations remains at 50 percent or more below 2019 levels.

India is the standout at only 11 percent below 2019. CAPA predicts Asia Pacific will not see a full return to pre-pandemic travel figures until the end of 2023 or early 2024.

China’s international share of Asia Pacific seats fell from 26.2 percent in 2019 to an estimated 5 percent in 2022, as this chart underscores: 

China and Japan: international scheduled seats per week, 2021 to 2022 year to date. Chart by Centre for Aviation.
The report from the Centre for Aviation