The Governor of the Tourism Organization of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, has attended a meeting with the General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, Olympia Anastasopoulou, with the aim of reviving tourism cooperation between both territories.
Recently the Hellenic Republic has been a popular destination for visitors from Thailand, while tourism traffic to and from Thailand has a long history of more than 40 years, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Supasorn also revived the tourism cooperation memorandum, which was signed 16 years ago, and also talked about prospects of resuming flights between both countries that were interrupted back in 2012 when Thai Airways said that it decided to stop direct flights between Bangkok and Greece’s capital.
During the meeting, the two officials, apart from the issue of air connectivity, also talked about visas. There have been reported many complaints from Thai travel agencies related to the delays in issuing tourist visas to citizens from Thailand who wish to travel to the Hellenic Republic.
In addition, Thai travel agencies said that delays in issuing tourist visas led Thai citizens either to cancel their trips or turn to another Schengen state.
According to a report provided by Travel Daily, there were over 14,000 tourists from Thailand in Greece in 2019, while this year, from January until today, they reached about 3,000.
In this regard, Anastasopoulou vowed that by the end of next year, the number would increase to 10,000, adding that both Ministers would sit at the same table and design a plan so that direct air connections are created, the visa issuance process is normalized.
Supasorn stressed that trade relations between Greece and Thailand began 350 years ago, stressing that now is the time to strengthen the bond even more.
Thailand opened its doors to about 40 million tourists in 2019; of them, about 7 million were from European countries. At present, after the opening of the country, the market rebounded by a total of 50 per cent, and the goal for next year is to reach 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
At the same time, authorities in Greece have managed to keep the tourism situation under control even amid the COVID-19 situation, welcoming many international visitors.
Recently, the Greece Tourism Minister, Vassilis Kikilias, unfolded a new plan for next year after emphasizing the country’s success in the tourism sector this year. The Minister said that the Hellenic Republic is a top destination ready for the next steps.