Thailand abandons hope for quick tourism recovery as third Covid-19 wave rages across country

Pattaya’s infamous Walking Street has become a lifeless ghost strip

Thailand’s government is giving up on hopes that the tourism industry would gradually recover this year as the country in April began struggling with a strong third Covid-19 wave that brought record-high numbers of daily infections and deaths.

Tourism officials have now halved their expected number of international visitors to three to four million this year and slashed its tourism revenue forecast for 2021 to 850 billion baht ($27.1 billion) from 1.22 trillion baht.

This number, however, includes domestic tourism. Tourism revenue from foreign visitors alone has been revised to 300 billion baht from 348 billion baht earlier this year.

In comparison, in the last year of unimpeded tourism to Thailand – in 2019 – close to 40 million people visited the country, as many as never before.

Tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that the third outbreak of Covid-19 in April had battered tourism sentiment just as it was showing signs of rebounding after the second virus surge subsided and pointed to the great uncertainty over how the pandemic would pan out.

Meanwhile, local tourists are tipped to take about 100 to 120 million trips this year, down from 160 million in the previous forecast, after the pandemic damaged tourism sentiment.

Popular holiday island of Phuket turned into “ghost island”

The holiday island of Phuket is among the destinations in Thailand that have been hit very hard by the third wave. Originally, the party-turned-ghost island wanted to gradually open to tourists from July 1, 2021, but will have to revise this plan in the wake of the third wave of infections. There are also currently not enough vaccines available to immunize the island’s population and tourism workers from other parts of Thailand.

Overall, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic Thailand has lost about 1.45 million jobs in the tourism industry on which its entire economy was disproportionately reliant. Many observers doubt that the country will ever get back to the previous high levels of visitor numbers as global travel patterns will highly likely change after the pandemic. Further, some Thai tourism officials have come to realise that mass tourism has done the country more harm than good in the past decades, both in terms of negative side effects such as pollution and overcrowding and the population’s worsening overall attitude towards foreign tourists.



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Pattaya's infamous Walking Street has become a lifeless ghost strip Thailand’s government is giving up on hopes that the tourism industry would gradually recover this year as the country in April began struggling with a strong third Covid-19 wave that brought record-high numbers of daily infections and deaths. Tourism officials have now halved their expected number of international visitors to three to four million this year and slashed its tourism revenue forecast for 2021 to 850 billion baht ($27.1 billion) from 1.22 trillion baht. This number, however, includes domestic tourism. Tourism revenue from foreign visitors alone has been revised to...

Pattaya’s infamous Walking Street has become a lifeless ghost strip

Thailand’s government is giving up on hopes that the tourism industry would gradually recover this year as the country in April began struggling with a strong third Covid-19 wave that brought record-high numbers of daily infections and deaths.

Tourism officials have now halved their expected number of international visitors to three to four million this year and slashed its tourism revenue forecast for 2021 to 850 billion baht ($27.1 billion) from 1.22 trillion baht.

This number, however, includes domestic tourism. Tourism revenue from foreign visitors alone has been revised to 300 billion baht from 348 billion baht earlier this year.

In comparison, in the last year of unimpeded tourism to Thailand – in 2019 – close to 40 million people visited the country, as many as never before.

Tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that the third outbreak of Covid-19 in April had battered tourism sentiment just as it was showing signs of rebounding after the second virus surge subsided and pointed to the great uncertainty over how the pandemic would pan out.

Meanwhile, local tourists are tipped to take about 100 to 120 million trips this year, down from 160 million in the previous forecast, after the pandemic damaged tourism sentiment.

Popular holiday island of Phuket turned into “ghost island”

The holiday island of Phuket is among the destinations in Thailand that have been hit very hard by the third wave. Originally, the party-turned-ghost island wanted to gradually open to tourists from July 1, 2021, but will have to revise this plan in the wake of the third wave of infections. There are also currently not enough vaccines available to immunize the island’s population and tourism workers from other parts of Thailand.

Overall, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic Thailand has lost about 1.45 million jobs in the tourism industry on which its entire economy was disproportionately reliant. Many observers doubt that the country will ever get back to the previous high levels of visitor numbers as global travel patterns will highly likely change after the pandemic. Further, some Thai tourism officials have come to realise that mass tourism has done the country more harm than good in the past decades, both in terms of negative side effects such as pollution and overcrowding and the population’s worsening overall attitude towards foreign tourists.



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.

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Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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