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Update August - September, 2020


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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
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Thailand ‘special tourist visa’ for long-staying visitors effective until 30 September, 2021

The policy is expected to become effective after the official announcement and will be available until 30 September, 2021.

The Thai Cabinet has approved in principle a proposal by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to grant a special tourist visa (STV) for long-staying visitors.

Under the STV scheme, long-staying visitors can stay in the country for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each for a further 90 days. The visa will cost 2,000 Baht per 90-day extension. 

The special visa scheme is expected to become effective after the official announcement and will be available until 30 September, 2021.

The STV will be granted to long-staying visitors who comply with Thailand’s COVID-19 control and preventive measures. They will be required to undergo a 14-day alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) upon their arrival. They must also have proof of their long-term residence in Thailand; such as, hotel reservation, rental contract, or evidence of ownership of a condominium. 


Thailand resumes domestic tourism on extended holiday plans

TAT has found that people made 2.2 million domestic trips during the extended holiday in lieu of the Songkran festival from Sept 4 to 7 and TAT estimated that about 8.8 billion baht changed hands in the period.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) welcomes the government’s plan to announce extended holidays to stimulate tourism late this year as nearly 10 billion baht changed hands during the previous four-day holiday in lieu of the Songkran festival.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said he totally agreed with the reported plan of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to announce special holidays to stimulate tours, spending and business.

Whatever prompted people to go on vacation was good when the country had to depend on domestic tourism and TAT had plans to encourage Thai people to take vacations to let business survive as there would be many holidays in the high season late this year, he said.

TAT has found that people made 2.2 million domestic trips during the extended holiday in lieu of the Songkran festival from Sept 4 to 7 and TAT estimated that about 8.8 billion baht changed hands in the period.

At present most Thai people liked to take vacations on weekends and long holidays, he said. (TNA)


Thailand drives forward promotion of domestic tourism among Thais and expats

Measure to reopen the country for foreign tourists is now under careful consideration by all concerned sectors to ensure reentering of foreign visitors is safe from the 2nd phase of COVID-19 disease spread.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul disclosed that during the COVID-19 situation when foreign tourists have not yet been allowed to enter the country, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has driven forward promotion of domestic tourism among Thai people and the expats living in Thailand through Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s various campaigns. The Government would like to encourage the people to travel in a bid to stimulate national economy, and called on entrepreneurs to beef up their COVID-19 preventive measures to boost confidence of the tourists.

According to the Deputy Government Spokesperson, the Government’s measure to reopen the country for foreign tourists is now under careful consideration by all concerned sectors. The most important thing is to ensure that reentering of foreign visitors would not engender the 2nd phase of COVID-19 disease spread. Deputy Prime Minister and Public Healthcare Minister Anutin Charnvirakul also affirmed that the country’s disease preventive, screening and monitoring system is efficient enough to handle the reentering of foreign tourists. With the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, both tourism and employment sectors, not only in Thailand but throughout the world, have been badly affected. Ministry of Tourism and Sports has hoped that once the disease situation eases, tourism would play a key role in reviving national economy, and alleviating people’s plights.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul.


Thailand projects 20.8 million international visitors in 2021

Under a best-case scenario, if there are no more disruptions, TAT is projecting 20.8 million international visitors in 2021, which would be about half the record arrivals of 39.8 million arrivals in 2019.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn has appealed to the Thai tourism industry to be patient, united, and confident in weathering the current crisis, which under a best-case scenario will almost certainly be over by 2021.

Speaking to the Thai Hotels Association (THA), the country’s largest travel trade grouping, the Governor said that although this was the worst of the many crises that Thailand has experienced, it would be overcome with the same spirit of solidarity and unity like in the past.

He said TAT would lead the country’s largest foreign exchange earner and job-creating industry into a new future that would see creative and innovative solutions being applied to building a more sustainable and resilient industry.

The Governor said he did not want to focus on how much pain the industry had suffered, but rather on how to prepare positively for the time when a vaccine would be found and restrictions on international travel lifted.

He said that under a best-case scenario, if there are no more disruptions, TAT is projecting 20.8 million international visitors in 2021, which would be about half the record arrivals of 39.8 million arrivals in 2019. The primary source markets would be Northeast Asia and the ASEAN countries, with a customer target of people in good health and high-purchasing power.

The crisis had created an opportunity to deal with old problems; such as, illegal hotels, tour operators and guides, waste problem and tourist exploitation. “I would like to see these problems disappear along with COVID-19. Let’s rebuild the industry. How can we learn to play a new game? How do we create this new future together?”

Citing one positive outcome, he noted that national parks had now set strict limitations on the number of visitors in line with carrying capacity principles. He expressed hope this would remain in place after the COVID-19 crisis recedes. Another positive outcome is the new focus on improving the quality of hygiene and sanitation.

He said that TAT was working overtime to help hotel businesses tap the potential of domestic tourism and maintain an occupancy of at least 30%, not so much to enhance business profitability, but rather to help maintain employment levels.

Mr. Yuthasak said he had formulated a three-dimensional (3D) strategy for the transition to a new era.

1) Domestic tourism, which would now get more priority than previously. “It is clear that we have to stimulate and open up more opportunities to help each other, especially to tap the potential of the 12 million Thais who travelled abroad in 2019.”

2) Digitalization of business processes would open up many new opportunities to find new customers, improve retention, cut costs, create value and grow revenue. TAT is very active on this front, and had many more projects in store for next year.

3) Dynamics: the industry as a whole has to create new dynamics and seek a better balance between creating efficiency and managing risk. “We don’t know what kind of crisis will happen next, but we have to be better prepared to deal with it. If there is ever a situation where we have to work from home, we will need a proper instruction manual on how to do it.”

Mr. Yuthasak said that nothing will be the same again, but that TAT is ready to help the industry adapt to new challenges and to support, encourage, motivate, and lead it towards a more promising future. “We are ready to be the wind beneath your wings. I believe we have to come back stronger. Never give up. You are not alone. TAT will help you all overcome the COVID- 19 crisis together.” 

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn.

TAT is helping hotel businesses tap the potential of domestic tourism and maintain an occupancy of at least 30% to help maintain employment levels in absence of foreign tourists.


Thailand’s tourism sector revenue shrinks by 70%, low cases countries ‘travel bubble’ decisive

Thailand’s tourism sector revenue this year will shrink by 70 percent, with only 900 billion baht revenue expected, much less than the figure before the COVID-19 pandemic, which was 3 trillion baht.

Krungthai Bank’s research center has urged the tourism sector to adapt to the New Normal for domestic tourism, in order to minimize damage from COVID-19, as international tourism is not expected to recover in even the coming year.

Krungthai COMPASS, a think tank of the Krungthai Bank, has estimated Thailand’s tourism sector revenue this year will shrink by 70 percent, with only 900 billion baht revenue expected, much less than the figure before the COVID-19 pandemic, which was 3 trillion baht.

The research unit expects the tourism sector to perform slightly better in 2021, with 1.2 trillion baht in revenue expected, however this figure is still 59 percent below the usual income before COVID-19.

With this prospect in mind, Thailand’s tourism sector will have to rely heavily on domestic tourists, whose acceptance of New Normal tourism focuses on closer destinations and safety, as reflected in July’s tourism data where provinces with the highest accommodation occupancy rate, were those located close to Bangkok, such as Petchaburi and Kanchanaburi.

The center has highlighted that most Thai tourists prefer visiting destinations hosting natural attractions, adventure attractions, and cultural attractions that are less crowded. It has urged related agencies to further develop facilities for tourists at these attractions.

Krungthai COMPASS’ projections on the tourism industry next year, are based on a scenario in which a vaccine for COVID-19 starts production in early 2021, with mass access expected in late 2021.

It has also commented on a further predicted drop in the number of international tourists next year, ranging from only 900,000 persons or as many as 14 million based on government policy, saying the uncertainty will make it difficult for the tourism sector to fully recover.

Several ways of enabling the country to reopen for tourism have been discussed, such as a Travel Bubble arrangement between countries with low cases, or the reopening of only tourist islands with their own airports such as Phuket and Samui, or reopening only for certain groups of visitors, such as those seeking medical tourism opportunities, golf course enthusiasts, and long-term visitors who normally spend twice the average tourists’ expenditure. (NNT)

Travel Bubble arrangement between countries with low cases, or the reopening of only tourist islands with their own airports such as Phuket and Samui are suggested to enable the country to reopen for tourism.


Phuket Island reopening to foreign tourists plan underway

The welcoming of foreign tourists to Phuket islandwill still depend on the readiness of many sectors, such as tourism venues.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, has traveled to Phuket to seek views and suggestions from local residents concerning plans to reopen the province to foreign tourists. Their input will be submitted to Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, for consideration. In an effort to restore the confidence of tourists, the government is organizing a trip to Phuket for a group of foreigners who work or study in Thailand, as well as expatriates, and diplomats.

Mr. Phipat visited the Patong subdistrict in Kathu district, Phuket province, to meet local entrepreneurs and residents. He listened to their difficulties during the COVID-19 outbreak, and explained measures to be taken in Phuket, which is designated a pilot province to welcome foreign tourists.

After meeting Phuket residents, the Tourism and Sports Minister said they wanted a public hearing to take place because a number of people disagreed with the plan to reopen the province to foreign tourists. The Ministry of the Interior will take over this responsibility. The reopening plan is set to start in October. Although the government has introduced all necessary protocols, as recommended by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the welcoming of foreign tourists will still depend on the readiness of many sectors, such as tourism venues.

Meanwhile, the government is also organizing trips to Phuket and other provinces for expats and diplomats. Recently, the government arranged a tour for this group to visit Khung Bang Kachao in Phra Pradaeng district, Samut Prakan province. The trip was well-received. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports set up a working body to coordinate with all expat groups and outbound tour agencies, urging them to organize trips inside the country instead. They will create tour packages for tourists who wish to travel from Bangkok to Phuket and other provinces. (NNT)

Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.


Pattaya and Eastern provinces tourism improved on long holiday

Tourists flocked to Pattaya City and many provinces in the eastern Thailand and sought local home stay services during the extended weekend.

Crowds of tourists flocked to Pattaya City and many provinces in the eastern Thailand and sought local home stay services during the extended weekend. Their arrival proved to stimulate local tourism and economy. 

The government made the long holiday from Sept 4 to 7 in lieu of the Songkran holiday in April that had been canceled due to COVID-19. 

The government raised its 40% accommodation subsidy period from five to ten nights per tourist and increased its daily meal subsidy from 600 baht to 900 baht on weekdays. The government also gave a refund of 2,000 baht per air ticket to stimulate domestic tours. 

The expanded subsidies started on Sept 1. Besides, the government allowed the government officials who use the subsidies to take additional leaves of two days without recording the additional leaves in their leave registration. 

The measures prompted a large number of tourists to visit eastern tourist destinations. Local hotels and home stay places were mostly occupied during the long holiday. 

Income was thus distributed there as visitors bought products and food and used the services of tour guides, operators and workers. 

Local operators were asking the government to keep issuing tourism promotion measures to increase the number of tourists. (TNA)

Pattaya and Eastern provinces are famous for fresh and reasonable priced seafood.

The government raised its 40% accommodation subsidy period from five to ten nights per tourist and increased its daily meal subsidy from 600 baht to 900 baht on weekdays.

The government made the long holiday from Sept 4 to 7 in lieu of the Songkran holiday in April that had been canceled due to COVID-19. 

Tourists flocked to Pattaya City beaches on the long weekend. 


Thai tourism is recovering, but not restored

EIC stated that tourism-related data showed that domestic tourism was improving, especially in provinces near Bangkok, however more urgent stimulus measures are needed.

The Thai tourism is recovering but has not been restored to its normal level yet, according to the Economic Intelligence Center of Siam Commercial Bank which urges for more stimulus measures.

EIC stated that tourism-related data showed that domestic tourism was improving, especially in provinces near Bangkok. However, the business is still far below its condition before business lockdowns. The center also pointed out that tourism remained vulnerable regarding the risk of the second COVID-19 spread.

EIC predicted that the tourism sector would continue to be sluggish despite eased lockdowns. It explained that foreign tourists have not returned. Besides, domestic tours by Thai people have not been full-scale and they naturally spend much less than foreign tourists.

On average a Thai tourist spent 2,866 baht a day while a foreign tourist did 6,039 baht a day, the center said.

The government and the private sector needed to introduce effective stimulus measures and marketing campaigns to encourage Thai tourists to go on vacation and it would be helpful to support the tourism sector when it had to depend on local tourists, EIC said. (TNA)


Thailand tourism promotion with ‘Care, Clean and Clear’ to ensure good health for tourists

Amazing Thailand Safety& Health Administration (SHA) is hygienic certification for restaurants, hotels, conference centers, recreational locations, vehicles, tour firms, beauty businesses, department stores, recreational sports facilities, event venues, theaters and shops.

The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are promoting tourism with the 3C principle of Care, Clean and Clear to ensure good health for tourists.

Wacharapong Khuwijitsuwan, secretary to the minister of public health, said after chairing a workshop on food hygiene at tourist destinations that the two ministries were implementing the Care, Clean and Clear principle to guarantee good health in the tourism sector.

Care means standard services at hospitals. Clean refers to the cleanliness of premises including restaurants, food stalls and public toilets. Clear focuses on the good ventilation of places and buildings, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Bancha Khakhong, deputy director-general of the Department of Health, said the department and the Tourism Authority of Thailand introduced the Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration (SHA) as hygienic certification for restaurants, hotels, conference centers, recreational locations, vehicles, tour firms, beauty businesses, department stores, recreational sports facilities, event venues, theaters and shops.

The hygienic initiatives were being applied as Thailand logged a new case of the coronavirus disease 2019.

The British woman, 29, is a language teacher. She arrived from the United Kingdom on Aug 15 with her husband and daughter. Her infection was confirmed in her second test on Aug 27 while she had a fever and headache.

Total COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 3,412, 3,252 of whom recovered and 58 died. (TNA)  

The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are promoting tourism with the 3C principle of Care, Clean and Clear to ensure good health for tourists.


Thailand's eastern coasts are blessed with marvelous islands

Koh Wai - a jewel Island of Koh Chang Archipelago in Trat province.

Among them is the pristine Koh Wai - a jewel Island of Koh Chang Archipelago in Trat province.

- Accessible with only one ferry a day, Koh Wai is a perfect castaway spot. Those wishing for a true escapade can rent a Beachfront bungalow, some primitive with limited electricity service. That will make you feel like a world away from everything.

- Around Koh Wai is the coral reefs perfect for Snorkeling; those staying on the island will have an all-day access. Those staying on other islands can still hire a day-trip over.

- Laid-back to the max is the code of conduct on Koh Wai. Beaching away, snorkeling around, and feasting on the freshest Seafood on the island before settling for a nice spot at the gorgeous Sunset will crowd your daily schedule.

- Koh Chang National Marine Park will reopen from July 1, 2020 onwards with limited visitors at 300 per day. Pre-booked snorkeling tours to Koh Wai are now available.

- Bungalows on Koh Wai will reopen from October 1, 2020 onwards. Pre-booking is now available.

Get yourself ready for this perfect castaway!

Koh Wai is a perfect castaway spot.

Around Koh Wai is the coral reefs perfect for Snorkeling.

Laid-back to the max is the code of conduct on Koh Wai.

 


September the revival of lively tourism atmosphere in Thailand

Rayong, hub of seafood, tropical fruits, islands tourism, and beach activities in Thailand.

 It’s said that September is the month that signals the end of the rainy season and the revival of the lively tourism atmosphere. If you want to go to the sea in this month, we recommend that you go to the Gulf of Thailand because the monsoon season still lingers in Andaman Sea. You can also head north to indulge in the morning mist atmosphere because the Northern region of Thailand has a lot more than mountains and cold breeze to offer in September. One of the highlights is a long-lasting tradition in Lamphun province: the Salak Yorm Festival. Every year, in this tradition, unmarried young women will offer a Salak Yom tree as an offering to the Buddha. It’s believed that the young women's Salak Yom is a form of merit equivalent to a man's ordination. There’s another great merit-making tradition in the province of Suphan Buri called Ting Kra Jard Festival. In this annual festival, you can donate money or useful items for people living in poverty. It’s a brand-new experience for you to discover.

After gaining new experiences from charming traditions, it’s time to explore many other tourist attractions waiting for you during the rainy season: visit Lom Phu Kiew (Emerald Pool) in Lampang province, Ban Salak in Trat province, Mo Hin Khao in Chaiyaphum province and Sai Yok national park in Kanchanaburi province, or admire the sea of mist at Phu Thap Boek and Thung Salaeng Luang in Phetchabun province, Doi Kiew Lom Viewpoint in Mae Hong Son province, and PhuSoi Dao in Uttaradit province, or visit the Pa Bong Piang Rice Terraces in Chiang Mai province and Rice Terraces of the Royal Initiative Discovery Project in Nan province, or you can also head to the Southern Sea; for example, Ko Tao, KoSamui, Muk Ko Ang Thong, and Rajjaprabha Dam (the Guilin of Thailand) in Surat Thani province.

Are you hungry now? For the food of this month, we recommend spicy food to warm your cold body and boost your immune system; such as, Sweet Potato with Ginger Soup, Stir-fried Chinese Morning Glory with Garlic, or hot tea. The most popular fruits are grapes, pineapple and guava, all are high vitamin fruits with low calories.

The highlighted activity of this month is observing an Amazing natural phenomenon: the shrimp parade at Kaeng Lamduan in Ubon Ratchathani province. You’ll be fascinated by the sight of more than 100,000 shrimp parading upstream. This phenomenon can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. Another highlight is tasting excellent coffee at Kaeng Song and Rafting along the Khek River. The coffee here is the local Arabica species, original, soft and fragrant. After refreshing yourself with a cup of coffee, it’s time for a challenging Adventure: rafting on the Khek River, the top 5 most popular rafting places in Thailand.

Although September is a month without any public holidays like others, the fascinating cultures and traditions, including amazing Tourist Attractions that we recommend visiting in this month, are unrivalled.

September’s additional highlights

Grand traditions of Thailand: Ting Kra Jard Festival and Salak Yom Festival.

Explore the Gulf of Thailand: Paradise of the South Sea.

Be amazed by the shrimp parade phenomenon.

Thailand's eastern coasts are blessed with marvelous islands.

Pattaya Elephant Village.

Thailand’s northern Mae Hong Son - Pai in the Rain.

 

Pattaya City with the sea, sand, sun and beach and the water activities on the east coast of Thailand.

Enjoy the waterfalls and natural excursion in the rainy season in Thailand.


Tourism Authority of Thailand LINE chat application ‘TAT Contact Center’

For more information, please contact the TAT Call Center 1672 (24 hours.)

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched its LINE chat application ‘TAT Contact Center’ aiming to provide another way for tourists to inquire about travel information in both the Thai and English language. Tourists can select from the menu to find recommended tourist attractions in Thailand, e brochures, and a list of operators who have received the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration, "SHA, "certification. 

Tourists can select from the menu to find recommended tourist attractions in Thailand.


Thai Airways preps for welcoming back tourists from six countries to Phuket

THAI charter flights will be arranged for travelers from Denmark, Germany, England, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan to Phuket.

Thai Airways International (THAI) is ready to arrange special charter flights for tourists from six countries as the national carrier welcomed the government’s plan to receive foreign tourists to the resort island of Phuket.

The announcement came after the government’s policy to ease travel restrictions to revive the country’s tourism hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chansin Treenuchagron, Acting President of THAI said the charter flights will be arranged for travelers from Denmark, Germany, England, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan to Phuket, known as one of popular destinations among the Andaman coastal provinces.

It will operate two flights a month for each route, expected to begin in late November and will later consider increasing frequency, depending on air travel demand.

The airline is also planning to resume direct flights from China to Phuket.

Charnsin said THAI pays attention to health safety of passengers and physical distancing will be adopted at all time during check-in, boarding while in flight and getting of the plane.

In-flight crew members will wear protective suits, masks and gloves. Aircraft deep cleaning and disinfection will be done in cabins and cockpits.

He added the airline was the first one to receive Amazing Thailand’s Safety & Health Administration (SHA), which means it strictly complies with the Ministry of Public Health’s highest hygiene and safety standards to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

To facilitate travellers, they will be able book the hotels in Phuket designated as alternative state quarantine for tourists with the airline.

Thailand on Thursday reported one more coronavirus infection, making a total of 3,404 confirmed cases.

The new case returned from India and was found infected in state quarantine. (TNA)

The announcement came after the government’s policy to ease travel restrictions to revive the country’s tourism hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic such as in Phuket.

Chansin Treenuchagron, Acting President of Thai Airways International (THAI).

Phuket, known as one of popular destinations among the Andaman coastal provinces of Thailand.


Thailand prepares to receive foreign tourists in October

The return of tourists is necessary for revival of the economy, all premises will be shut down and employees will be laid off if the government does nothing.

Thai government plans to ease travel restrictions to welcome foreign tourists from low- risk countries in a bid to revive the local economy.

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha said the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) would discuss which areas will be suitable to receive foreign tourists as well as related disease control measures.

It will begin with the limited number of arrivals. They will be screened from the origins to the destinations and will stay only in tourist zones, he said. To help the most economically affected tourist destinations, the government is looking at allowing foreign tourists to stay in those prepared areas as a ‘sand box’ model.

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha.

The return of tourists is necessary for revival of the economy. If the government does nothing, all premises will be shut down and employees will be laid off. The government needs to relax restrictions and implement suitable measures to handle it, he added.

Meanwhile, Public Health Ministry’s Division for Communicable Diseases, Sophon Iamsirithawon said Thai has had zero local transmissions for more than 90 days since May 25. 

Easing restrictions to allow resumption of business activities went smoothly but strict disease control measures must remain in place, he said.

Tourism will be also resumed under restricted safety rules. 

It is expected to start receive foreign tourists in October. Initially, it targets to allow tourists from low-risk countries who come to Thailand for medical purposes and tourism, he added. (TNA)  

To help the most economically affected tourist destinations, the government is looking at allowing foreign tourists to stay in those prepared areas as a ‘sand box’ model.


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Thailand ‘special tourist visa’ for long-staying visitors effective until 30 September, 2021

Thailand resumes domestic tourism on extended holiday plans

Thailand drives forward promotion of domestic tourism among Thais and expats


Thailand projects 20.8 million international visitors in 2021

Thailand’s tourism sector revenue shrinks by 70%, low cases countries ‘travel bubble’ decisive


Phuket Island reopening to foreign tourists plan underway

Pattaya and Eastern provinces tourism improved on long holiday


Thai tourism is recovering, but not restored

Thailand tourism promotion with ‘Care, Clean and Clear’ to ensure good health for tourists


Thailand's eastern coasts are blessed with marvelous islands

September the revival of lively tourism atmosphere in Thailand


Tourism Authority of Thailand LINE chat application ‘TAT Contact Center’

Thai Airways preps for welcoming back tourists from six countries to Phuket


Thailand prepares to receive foreign tourists in October