Thai Prime Minister to visit Hong Kong and three ASEAN countries to strengthen diplomatic relations and enhance collaboration across sectors. Phuket International Airport allocated 6 billion baht for refurbishment to accommodate 18 million visitors annually; an increase in flights from China expected during high season. #Thailand #diplomacy #tourism #Phuket #China #ASEAN
Departure and Itinerary
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is set to embark on a five-day journey to Hong Kong and three ASEAN countries, beginning on Sunday. Departing from the Royal Thai Air Force’s (RTAF) terminal at Don Mueang Airport, the Prime Minister will travel aboard the force’s Airbus 320 aircraft en route to Hong Kong. Following his time in Hong Kong, he will continue on to visit Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia, with plans to return home on Thursday.
Goals and Objectives
During his trip to the ASEAN countries, Prime Minister Srettha seeks to strengthen diplomatic relations and enhance collaboration across various sectors. In addition to this voyage, multiple overseas trips are planned in the coming months, including visits to the United States for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, as well as Japan and China.
China Visit: Tourism and Submarine Engine Talks
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee revealed that the Prime Minister’s excursion to China is scheduled for mid-October. The agenda for his Beijing visit includes discussions to rebuild trust in Thai tourism following the tragic Siam Paragon shopping mall shooting on October 3rd that resulted in two fatalities, including a Chinese tourist.
Moreover, Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara mentioned that Prime Minister Srettha will address the ongoing dispute over a German submarine engine with the Chinese government. Germany has declined to permit its MTU396 diesel engine to be installed in a Chinese submarine commissioned by Thailand.
Phuket’s Tourism Recovery and Airport Renovation
According to Phuket International Airport’s director-general, Monchai Tanode, an increased number of flights from China are expected to arrive in the tourist hotspot of Phuket during the upcoming high season. Numerous airlines have reserved their slots to fly to Phuket, anticipating traffic to reach between 80% and 90% of pre-pandemic levels starting next month.
In September, the majority of air arrivals in Phuket were from China (44,680), followed by Russia (41,180), Australia (22,897), India (19,127), and Malaysia (14,290). Monchai noted that despite the current low season, tourist numbers from most nations are already rebounding. He estimates that the average number of tourists from countries that traditionally frequented Phuket is now at 70% of pre-pandemic levels, with an anticipated increase to 87% during the high season.
To accommodate the expected surge in airport traffic, Phuket airport will operate 24/7 during the high season. During the pandemic, the airport underwent nighttime renovations. Monchai revealed that the airport has allocated 6 billion baht for the international terminal’s refurbishment, aiming to accommodate 18 million visitors annually.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the goals of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s five-day trip to Hong Kong and three ASEAN countries?
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin aims to strengthen diplomatic relations and enhance collaboration across various sectors during his trip to Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia.
What are the main topics of discussion during the Prime Minister’s visit to China?
During his visit to China, Prime Minister Srettha plans to discuss rebuilding trust in Thai tourism following the tragic Siam Paragon shopping mall shooting and address the ongoing dispute over a German submarine engine with the Chinese government.
How is Phuket International Airport preparing for the expected increase in visitors during high season?
Phuket International Airport has allocated 6 billion baht for the international terminal’s refurbishment to accommodate 18 million visitors annually. The airport will also operate 24/7 during the high season, anticipating traffic to reach between 80% and 90% of pre-pandemic levels starting next month.