Research institute says Covid vaccine will bring tourists back

As Thailand’s economy remains the hardest hit in Asia, a new prediction slates the end of 2021 as the saviour in terms of tourists coming back. The Thailand Development Research Institute says.. “once a vaccine is rolled out late next year, the tourists will once again return to the kingdom”.

Kirida Bhaopichitr, the Institute’s research director said that most visitors were likely to come from China and ASEAN during the first phase of recovery as it’s cheaper for those tourists to travel closer to their home countries. She also said it is also a more friendly option for these types of travellers.

“We can expect more Chinese tourists in the post-Covid-19 world,” she told a forum titled “Thailand’s post-Covid-19 economy and the most vulnerable”.

Public fear has also played a role in the slow return of tourists, not to mention the much-criticised draconian measures that the Thai government has taken to curb the spread of the virus. Such measures included squashing mass tourism-which is a significant part of Thailand’s economy. Other measures have many nationals up in arms as the government delayed allowing Thais to repatriate from overseas citing the risk in virus transmission. More recently, the government has touted travel bubbles as the new norm, but then reneged that decision “until further notice”.

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Kirida said public fear was due to the fact that “we are in the unknown” given the recent case of a Covid positive Egyptian military officer in Rayong being allowed to skirt quarantine and exposing the public while shopping at a mall. Furthermore, a Sudanese diplomat’s daughter tested positive for the virus after arriving in Bangkok while she and her family stayed in a crowded area of ​​the nation’s capital.

“That is the reality on the ground. Maybe, it also reflects the fact that Thais are not confident in the government’s ability to manage these risks after all.”

Despite the strict measures taken by the government and then somewhat relaxing them for certain visitors, Thailand has been lauded for doing well in terms of controlling the Covid-19 pandemic domestically.

Porametee Vimolsiri, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, reiterated that tourism continued to be the backbone of the Thai economy and said the government is addressing how to rebuild trust and confidence in travellers.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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