Diplomats in Riyadh discuss sustainability prospects ahead of Formula E World Championship Season 8
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Heads of Thailand’s labor and tourism sectors said on Friday they were eager to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia following the restoration of relations between the two countries following the Prime Minister’s visit. Thai minister in Riyadh.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was in the Saudi capital on January 25-26 at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for the first high-level meeting between the nations in more than three decades.
One of the agreements signed during the trip was a labor cooperation agreement, which Thai government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said was expected to come into force within two months.
Saudi Arabia was once a popular destination for Thai expatriates, with more than 300,000 of them living and working in the Kingdom during the 1980s. Currently, there are fewer than 1,350 Thai workers in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, employed mainly as welders, technicians and domestic workers, according to data from the Thai Ministry of Labor.
Aranya Sakulkosol, president of the Thai Overseas Manpower Association, a government-affiliated recruitment agency for overseas jobs, told Arab News that the resumption of diplomatic relations was “good news, as Saudi Arabia is also pursuing the development plan which will provide an opportunity for Thai workers, especially those with skills.
She said that for many years there had been interest in opportunities in Saudi Arabia, as in the past many who worked in the Kingdom were able to establish themselves upon their return.
“The association plans to start sending the pilot group to work in Saudi Arabia within two months, in line with the government’s plan. We will see how Thai workers adapt to the employer in Saudi Arabia,” Sakulkosol added.
The Southeast Asian nation is also bracing for more tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia, following the announcement by the Kingdom’s national airline, Saudia, of plans to resume direct flights to Thailand in May.
The Thai government has estimated that the increased number of visitors from Saudi Arabia will generate an additional $150 million for its economy.
Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told Arab News that while the coronavirus pandemic situation made it difficult to predict how many Saudis would visit the country, authorities wanted to rely on two outstanding areas that could attract travellers: and shopping tourism.
He said: “We plan to do proactive marketing, including establishing a promotion plan with airlines and travel agencies. Many agencies we have worked with previously focused on other Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates or Jordan. We will now also focus on Saudi Arabia.
“TAT will also hold a roadshow to introduce services in Thailand, such as hotels, to get to know their customers in Saudi Arabia and sell their products there. It could be done soon, probably before June. We have high hopes of increasing the number of visitors,” he added.