About a third of Thai tourism operators out of business

One of Bangkok’s main landmarks, Wat Arun, got no visitors for months

An almost complete collapse of tourism to Thailand, formerly the most visited country in Southeast Asia, has triggered a massive crisis for the industry.

Having hit a record of 39.8 million arrivals last year, the estimation for 2020 are drastically lower. Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob told Reuters that only eight million visitors are expected at most, and it would take years for foreign tourist numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels, hitting a lucrative industry that provides many jobs and contributes around 20 per cent to GDP.

In fact, about a third of tourism-related businesses have exited the market in the first half of the year, with many set to follow as Thailand’s borders remain sealed to international tourists, according to Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand.

He said the tourism industry predicts a further deterioration after six months of the coronavirus crisis, as many related businesses are terminating their operations or selling off assets, choosing not to wait for an uncertain recovery. Over 1,100 tour operators in the January-June period gave up their licenses and asked for their guarantees back, he added.

Focus on domestic tourism and travel corridors

He said the main types of businesses affected by the crisis are tour operators, bus services with a small vehicle fleet, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels that used to focus on foreign tour groups, especially the Chinese market.

The focus for Thai tourism organisations and the government now lies on domestic tourism and the possibility of travel corridors with low-risk countries. Virus-free visitors from such countries could be issued an “immunity passport” and would be exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entering the countries under such a mutual agreement.

However, critics of an opening of the country raised concerns that it would be too soon to open borders at a time when the number of coronavirus infections from foreign arrivals has been on a rise and the international situation is far from being under control.



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One of Bangkok's main landmarks, Wat Arun, got no visitors for months An almost complete collapse of tourism to Thailand, formerly the most visited country in Southeast Asia, has triggered a massive crisis for the industry. Having hit a record of 39.8 million arrivals last year, the estimation for 2020 are drastically lower. Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob told Reuters that only eight million visitors are expected at most, and it would take years for foreign tourist numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels, hitting a lucrative industry that provides many jobs and contributes around 20 per cent to GDP....

One of Bangkok’s main landmarks, Wat Arun, got no visitors for months

An almost complete collapse of tourism to Thailand, formerly the most visited country in Southeast Asia, has triggered a massive crisis for the industry.

Having hit a record of 39.8 million arrivals last year, the estimation for 2020 are drastically lower. Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob told Reuters that only eight million visitors are expected at most, and it would take years for foreign tourist numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels, hitting a lucrative industry that provides many jobs and contributes around 20 per cent to GDP.

In fact, about a third of tourism-related businesses have exited the market in the first half of the year, with many set to follow as Thailand’s borders remain sealed to international tourists, according to Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand.

He said the tourism industry predicts a further deterioration after six months of the coronavirus crisis, as many related businesses are terminating their operations or selling off assets, choosing not to wait for an uncertain recovery. Over 1,100 tour operators in the January-June period gave up their licenses and asked for their guarantees back, he added.

Focus on domestic tourism and travel corridors

He said the main types of businesses affected by the crisis are tour operators, bus services with a small vehicle fleet, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels that used to focus on foreign tour groups, especially the Chinese market.

The focus for Thai tourism organisations and the government now lies on domestic tourism and the possibility of travel corridors with low-risk countries. Virus-free visitors from such countries could be issued an “immunity passport” and would be exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entering the countries under such a mutual agreement.

However, critics of an opening of the country raised concerns that it would be too soon to open borders at a time when the number of coronavirus infections from foreign arrivals has been on a rise and the international situation is far from being under control.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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