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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Lockdown could be final straw for tourism in Thailand

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The President of the Phuket Hotels Association has described another potential lockdown as a nail in the coffin for tourism in the province. Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Anthony Lark says a nationwide lockdown, or restrictions on domestic travel, would finish off many tourism-related businesses.

“Everyone’s losing money and just trying to break even. If the government can’t control the virus, and any domestic air travel or inter-provincial travel restrictions are introduced, then you will absolutely see hotel, restaurant and boat owners mothball their businesses.”

Phuket and other popular destinations had been hoping for a slight reprieve over the upcoming holiday period, with the tourism businesses that have made it this far expecting a much-needed uptake in revenue. However, the latest outbreak in the central province of Samut Sakhon may have put paid to that. With cases now over 800 and many more expected as officials test thousands of migrant workers, the PM has warned that another lockdown may be unavoidable if the situation gets out of control. UPDATE: As of this evening, the number of Covid-19 cases linked to the “Samut Sakhon cluster” surpassed 1,000.

Samut Sakhon is currently in a 14 day lockdown and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has confirmed that the virus has spread to other provinces, albeit in small numbers at this stage. The PM says the true situation will not be known for another 7 days, at which point, decisions will have to be made on whether the country needs another lockdown. The latest development has come just as the government was considering easing restrictions for some foreign tourists.

Thailand desperately needs to revive international tourism in order to lift itself out of recession, although the central bank says the economy will probably not return to its pre-Covid state for another 2 years. Last year, around 40 million foreign visitors to Thailand generated over 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. And before Covid-19, international tourists made up two-thirds of Phuket’s visitors but generated 90% of its tourism revenue.

Domestic travellers have kept some places open, even if they can never match the effect of international tourists. Lark says that since Thailand closed its borders in March, around 99% of Phuket’s tourists have come from Bangkok, with some of the island’s hotels even reaching 80% occupancy on occasion. However, a new lockdown or restrictions on domestic travel could signal the end for many businesses expecting tourists from the capital.

SOURCE: Bloomberg | Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 10:02 am

    How many are actually sick? “Cases” don’t Mean much or m if no one is ill.

    • The Thaiger

      The Thaiger

      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 10:57 am

      You don’t need to be ill to be a ‘case’. You are still a carrier and may become ill and show symptoms at a later date.

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 12:29 pm

        Sure, but if no one is sick and every one tests positive what’s the issue?

        And if they’re not reporting cycle thresholds to determine positive case. We know anything over 14 cycles is scientifically useless.

        The point is if they want to inflate the case numbers they do more cycles.

        • Avatar

          preesy chepuce

          Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 10:01 pm

          The issue is that that western democracy lefties and developing world juntas love hijacking bureaucracies and telling everybody what to do and when to do it, and don’t like accepting that nature is beyond their control. It remains very likely that the virus will continue to mutate, and eventually dissipate amongst the human population having taken out the vulnerable and leaving the rest with herd immunity, over 2 years.

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      I know someone who’s brother (40’s) just died from it in the UK.
      There are different variants that were developed, some stronger than others.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 3:52 pm

        The idea that only the old and fat die from Covid is simply wrong.

        The increased risk is the same regardless of age, etc, so if the risk of dying for a fat 75 year old is doubled (for example) due to Covid, so it’s also doubled for a fit 25 year old, a 45 year old with diabetes, etc.

        Obviously more old or with other issues die, but the increased risk is the same for everyone.

        • Avatar


          Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 5:04 pm

          The current data shown on the CDC website regarding this version of Sars, would suggest you’re just making things up to rationalize your irrational fears.

        • Avatar

          London Al

          Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 5:29 pm

          The increased risk of death is the same regardless of age but the actual risk of death is very low if below age 60 without underlying health problems, a fit 25 year old has virtually no chance of dying from Covid, twice nothing is nothing.

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 5:31 pm

          Ah you change your post to prove your point.
          It is the old and fat, AND sick who have more chances of dying from the virus.
          Not as you begin with “only the old and fat die from covid is wrong”
          a person of 25 with diabetes has a chance of dying, even though he is not fat and old.
          However even though Father Christmas is old and fat, he is not sick, so he is unlikely to die of the virus. The ones with the three conditions are at greatest risk of dying IMHO
          So hang your stocking up this Christmas, Santa should make to to your place, as long as you have been good, which I doubt . . .


        • Avatar


          Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 4:40 am

          The problem is John the older people have underlini g problems so covid can attack them easier that’s why more old die

        • Avatar

          preesy chepuce

          Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 4:09 pm

          Can you name any credible medical studies to support your assertion?

          If you search for “assessing risk factors” on the cdc website, or “hospitalisation death by age” you’ll find that they disagree with you John. I couldn’t find anything on the ONS’s detailed analysis pages either. Perhaps they could benefit from your expertise?

          It sounds like you believe you know more than the CDC and ONS. Where did you study epidemiology? How extensive is your experience? Perhaps you should give WHO a call? I don’t think they check this website.

  2. Avatar


    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Vaccines available on the international market but government zero action.They are good with restrictions only.Lockdown and curfew oh and famous ban on alcohol selling.Vaccine all people in Thailand who need it cost? Price available everybody can check and calculate.

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:19 am

      There are no vaccines available. Everything is already sold. And even the countries who were able to buy it have only very limited supplies.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:23 am

      I don’t know why you keep repeating something which is patently nonsense.

      Vaccines are NOT “available on the international market”.

      All available approved vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have already been bought by the West, including any and all available from them in the short term.

      Even if they were to permit mRNA production by others, which both have said they don’t intend doing, or someone were to wave a magic wand to increase their production, it would be useless to countries like Thailand which don’t have the infrastructure to store and distribute mRNA vaccines at -20c (Moderna) let alone -70c (Pfizer / BioNTech).

      The only vaccines that are possible here are traditional’ ones such AstraZeneca’s, which Thailand has already bought and is to produce once trials are complete and approval granted.

      If you want to criticize the government fine, there’s no shortage of ammunition, but please stop doing so with this absolute tripe about their taking “zero action” over something that doesn’t exist – there are NO vaccine options currently available to Thailand.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:55 am

      And “spot on” from me too.

      While it doesn’t apply to all hoteliers or all in the tourism industry by any means, far too many have exploited cheap labour and the local environment while giving nothing back, and they’re the ones now doing all the whingeing and looking for a government hand-out, expecting others to come up with solutions even though they can’t come up with any themselves.

      What’s most noticeable in all this whingeing isn’t just that it’s invariably from farang hoteliers, but that despite all the ongoing protests about everything under the sun from LGBT rights to school uniforms there have been NONE, literally NONE, from Thais – even from those most directly affected by it.

      • Avatar

        preesy chepuce

        Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 4:10 pm

        Are you some kind of word salad generating bot, John?

      • Avatar


        Friday, December 25, 2020 at 1:49 pm

        Those foreign GM’s are just glorified pimps.

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Lock down is the only way out

  4. Avatar


    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Everything is heavily overpriced in Phuket. The “hoteliers” have reaped huge profits over the many past decades, however, it seems they have not had the foresight to anticipate a rainy day. Additionally, then the mass influx of Chinamen through the zero dollar schemes has made other tourists go elsewhere. While the Chinese virus may have been impossible to predict, then the greed of certain people had already initiated this downfall.

    • Avatar

      Alte Ledertasche

      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Spot on…thats why I dont have any feelings for their situation. I enjoy discounted prices now. And empty unspoiled beaches. Best high season since I am here.

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:56 am

        Wow, that’s pretty selfish of you. You enjoy the poverty of other people because you think they deserve that…? “No feelings and empty beaches”. They should terminate your visa with immediate effect.

        • Avatar


          Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 12:03 pm

          Oh no you come to 3rd world country and enjoy lower prices and better lifestyle, what a scam bag. Should be terminated indeed.

        • Avatar

          Alte Ledertasche

          Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 12:14 pm

          Are you from the social wellfare fund ? I am representing myself and my family only, nobody else.

          Hoteliers and the tourism industry sameas all other business have ripped of people on Phuket for long time and they did not do that because they were so good people. They did it to fill their pockets with dollars taking advantage and so do I now. Its called capitalism. Shark eat fish and you have to decide what you want to be, shark or fish. Its that simple.

          If the thai authorities revoke my visa ? They can go on with that. I anyway will leave in 6 month latest, if its earlier I spend my money somewhere else.

          • Avatar

            B. Good

            Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 7:52 pm

            I agree with

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      Somewhat of a racial slur, no?

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 9:36 pm

        What’s a slur? Please clarify instead of your ignorant and deranged question.

        • Avatar


          Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 6:37 pm

          “chinamen” is a racial slur..

          I agree with your comments about Phuket. It’s time they got normalized and hopefully got rid of dual pricing while they’re at it.

          • Avatar

            preesy chepuce

            Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 4:19 pm

            Not really, it’s just old-fashioned language, like “Spaniard” or “negro” or “eskimo”, they aren’t rude words per se, even if recent generations have been trained to be hypersensitive to pretty much everything that isn’t turned into a beige meaningless blancmange.

  5. Avatar


    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I hope they wait at least until the 2nd of January.

  6. Avatar


    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 4:50 am

    Firstly alte your out of order mate very selfish views many people will now die in Thailand this disease is not a class disease it takes out everybody I do want to come and live in thailand in the next 2 years I’m still young to enjoy my life but I want a Thailand that is free and happy I hope this comes because my girl has never seen this she seems happy but only knows this type of Thailand never been to the west and sometimes I do think this maybe a good thing lol that’s why we want to live on Thailand with all its faults it’s still paradise

  7. Avatar

    Bobby M

    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    There were plenty of opportunities to to work with this virus in its low season, yes it did have a low season. Most of the western world did this and it has helped keep some money coming in. A second wave was inevitable as is a third and so on.

    I am afraid all Thailand did in this period was to come up with crazy expensive and prohibitive ideas which prevented money coming in. Displaying inability to manage a financial and economic crisis. Yes, in time and with vaccine it may have less impact. But it may not.

    Just as many people have said, including myself, it will mutate and it has now done so. Each strain can and will mutate. It may become less dangerous, it may become more dangerous and it could even mutate in such a way that the vaccine becomes ineffective.

    Life has entered a new phase forever. Learn to live and work with it or die a sad life trying to avoid it, both financially and physically. I am afraid that this is now part of our evolution and will be the norm for a long long time.

    Life has to continue and I will enjoy mine the best I can, I do not fear death, it’s part of life’s cycle. I work as part of the frontline and have done since it arrived.

    This is my opinion and is I am sorry to say it is the bigger picture

    I wish all the very best wishes for Christmas and the new year. Is going to be another tough one.

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