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Zero Flights To Betong Airport, Tourism Officials To Offer Discounts

Published: March 22, 2022 at 5:59 pm

betong airport inauguration

After the much-publicized debut of the new airport in Yala went awry, with Nok Air canceling flights to the airport due to a lack of travelers, tourism authorities in the Betong region are setting up discounts on food and hotel rooms to encourage travelers to visit.

Betong Airport was built to boost tourism and trade in the southernmost border provinces of the country. Still, most western tourists have been advised not to travel to the deep south region near the Malaysia border due to insurgency near the area. Recently, eleven rangers and civilians were wounded in a bomb assault in Yala’s Bannang Sata district, and posters stating “Free Patani, Patani is not Siam” were placed in numerous locations around the province, leading the region’s security to be tightened.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have all issued travel advisories advising residents to avoid traveling to the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala due to a continuing conflict marked by frequent roadside bombing and killings.

The vice president of the Betong Tourism Business Association, the majority of visitors in the southernmost provinces come from Malaysia and Singapore. The tourism official said over 600,000 tourists from Malaysia and Singapore visited Yala in 2019, adding that he anticipates an influx of visitors between 2 countries once travel restrictions are relaxed.

Tourism authorities in Betong and Narathiwat provinces have promised discounts for travelers who have a flight ticket. Participating hotels in the area would provide up to 40% discount, while restaurants and cafés would offer 10% to 20% discounts. Travelers may get a 100 baht discount at some eateries in Narathiwat for every order worth 500 baht.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is present at the airport’s inauguration last week by flying to the Betong airport in a Nok Air passenger plane, posing for photographs with the media, and attending a ceremony among other government officials. However a day after its inauguration, Nok Air – the airport’s lone commercial airline, ceased operations indefinitely due to insufficient demand.

Nok Air subsequently said tourism authorities need to launch a marketing campaign and promote Betong as a tourist destination before offering flights. Nok Air’s chief commercial officer said that the Thai government must guarantee 75% of revenue for the first 6 months to ensure that Nok Air does not incur major losses for the new routes to Betong.

Source:  Nation Thailand

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