According to Thailand’s Labour Ministry, more than 9,000 workers are still needed in the tourism industry as foreign visitors continue to arrive in large numbers.
According to Mr. Boonchob Sutthamanaswong, permanent secretary for the Labour Ministry, labor offices in 60 provinces recently surveyed labor demand among 32,359 tourism operators. He stated that 1,817 of them still required 9,763 workers.
Phuket (3,648 workers in demand), Chiang Mai (858), Chon Buri (594), Phangnga (410), and Surat Thani are the top five provinces where tourism workers are in high demand (349).
Employers are looking for receptionists, porters, waiters, cleaners and housemaids, chefs, kitchen workers, cashiers, and accountants.
Mr. Boonchob recently met with the Thai Hotels Association (THA), the Tourism Council of Phuket, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), the Thai Spa Association, and tourism operators to discuss ways to address labor shortages in the industry.
THA president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi stated that Bangkok’s five-star hotels had enough staff to welcome guests during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
However, housemaids, bartenders, and food and beverage personnel are still in short supply in some major tourism provinces such as Phuket and Pattaya, she said.
She stated that foreign visitors are expected to arrive in large numbers from now on, and that more workers must be found and upskilled to welcome them.
The ATTA’s president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, stated that there are still shortages of tour guides as foreign tourists continue to arrive.
Thailand is the most-searched travel destination in the world ahead of Chinese New Year, with Suvarnabhumi Airport expecting over 1.8 million incoming Chinese tourists from January 16 to 28.
Thailand moved up another spot in the survey, conducted by travel marketing platform Sojern, after finishing second last year.
This year, the kingdom accounted for 26.7% of all travel-related queries in the region.
Thailand to extend 45 day visa
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Tourism Authority has proposed extending the 45-day visa-free stay policy for foreign tourists until the end of this year in order to boost tourism recovery.
In addition to visa extensions, Thai tourism officials plan to increase flights during peak travel season and attract high-spending tourists to Thailand in order to generate 2.38 trillion baht ($72 billion) in tourism revenue, according to the Bangkok Post.
Citizens from over 50 countries who qualify for visa exemptions were allowed to stay in Thailand for up to 45 days beginning October 1 last year. The policy is currently only in effect until March 31.
Southeast Asia’s second largest economy received 11 million foreign visitors last year as a result of the open visa policy, making its tourism industry one of the fastest to recover in the region following the pandemic.
The Thai government expects 25 million foreign visitors this year.
He proposed that the law be changed to allow foreigners to work as tour guides in the country in order to alleviate shortages and promote tourism.
Thai massage and spa services are popular among foreign tourists, according to Krod Rojanastien, president of the Thai Spa Association.
More than 60% of massage and spa workers were forced to quit their jobs and return to their home provinces due to lockdowns and health precautions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Mr Krod.
As the pandemic subsides, the association has been attempting to persuade them to return to work, as well as recruiting and training new employees, he said, adding that the sector still requires between 7,000 and 8,000 workers.
The Skill Development Department will launch a program to upskill final-year undergraduates studying tourism and hospitality.
It will also work with businesses in the sector to place graduates, according to Mr Boonchob.