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One third of tourism businesses could go under due to Covid-19

Jack Burton



PHOTO: Travelwire News

The president of the Tourism Council of Thailand is warning that close to a third of tourism-related businesses are likely to be permanently shuttered in the second half of this year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Chairat Trirattanajarasporn says many will simply run out of liquidity to keep their businesses afloat and be forced to close up shop altogether.

“The impact of Covid-19 will become most serious in the third quarter this year after many operators tried to cut costs by letting some of their employees go, but after more than a million positions cut the situation still hasn’t improved, as no foreign tourists are allowed into the country yet. The council estimates that in the next 3 months around 30% of tourism-related businesses in Thailand are at risk of shutting down permanently.”

He says that many operators are starting to sell their establishments, including hotels, resorts, restaurants and gift shops to investors who want to turn them into other businesses.

“However, since the real estate business is also affected by the economic crisis, the hope of selling their properties is still bleak for these owners. The council had a meeting with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday and proposed 5 measures to help tourism business operators.”

The measures are:

  • providing soft loans to tourism entrepreneurs
  • considering moving the schedule up to open the country to foreign tourists under a practice similar to the travel bubble scheme
  • offering discount on electricity bills, one of the main costs of hotel operators
  • having the Social Security Office extend the compensation payment to temporarily unemployed staff from June to December
  • reducing the employer’s contribution to Social Security Fund from 4% to 1%.

He says that the TCT predicts that even in the best case, income from foreign tourism in 2020 will be slashed from 2.2 trillion baht last year to around 600 billion baht, or about 27.3%

Thailand’s government, successful with the local containment of Covid-19, is now confronted with a situation where the “playground is clean but there’s a big fence around it”. Its fears to re-open have been compounded by the large percentage of repatriating Thais who are testing positive for Covid-19 whilst serving their mandatory quarantine. Doctors suspect many picked up their infections during the repatriation process – at airports and during the long flights.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Going under not due to the virus.
    Due to unreasonable, and unnecessary restrictions the government have put on the country.
    In the name of – it’s for your own good.

  2. Avatar


    Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Sorry to disagree, however, the loss of foreign income from tourism will be closer to 90%, not 23%. Right now there is close to zero foreign tourism. Unless they are counting the foreigners living here the the loss will be about 89%.

  3. Avatar


    Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    I drove to Patong at about 8pm last night, all the way down the 200Year-Old-road it was desolate, no one was walking, I could easily drive at 10kms an hour as there were only one or two other cars on the road.

    99% of businesses were closed, it will of course remain this way until international travel returns but who would want to fly anyway for fear of catching the virus during the flight?

    I saw one or two crowed bars, no one was wearing a mask including the staff, people were talking very loud above the music while huddled together in one big group.

  4. Avatar


    Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    The Gov did a very good job in handling the Covid-19 crises. No it’s high time to take advantage of this good-will. Open the borders to suitable countries, Tourism is a main income source for Thailand….. but the regulations to enter the country have to be establish with COMMON SENSE, that means the Thai Gov has to make the entry safe but also attractive!!!!! Not 1 tourist will book holidays with the view of a 11 days quarantine easy to understand, isn’t it. No guts – no glory, wake up Thailand and go forward, the recovery lies in your hands and not in the Virus!

  5. Avatar


    Monday, July 13, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    If you can’t control it, learn to manage it, unless your desire is to commit economic suicide. Simple as that. Applies to every country unfortunately. But learning is not a military strong point. Killing things off is easier for them, no learning required.

  6. Avatar

    Thomas Easton

    Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    I was hoping to see Thailand again in December, BUT have to admit there are several things recently that are putting me off, Was planning on an 8 week stay in both Thailand and Vietnam, But seeing Thailand attitude especially towards western foreigners and not the Chinese where this damn virus started in the 1st place, I have a great respect for Asian cultures but when you’re not respected in any way then you begin to lose respect in turn, and seeing the 2PriceThailand on facebook drawing many eyes to the in some cases 10-15 times prices for westerners than for Thai nationals for various parks and attractions, do I really want to come to a country that I respect that doesn’t want me there but would still like my money.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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