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Tourism not expected to bounce back until 2026 – Thai government

Jack Arthur



Photo by analogicus from Pixabay

Grim news for tourist-dependent areas such as Phuket as the government has cautioned it could be another half decade before the tourist industry is fully revitalised.

2 years ago, prior to the pandemic, tourism comprised around 21% of Thailand’s GDP, taking in 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the National Economic and Social Development Council predicts Thailand won’t see similar numbers for 5 more years… a jump of 3 years from what experts predicted it would take the tourist sector to recover. In between now and 2026, it is expected that 7 million workers will continue to be affected.

This news comes in the midst of Thailand vacillating between decisions to ease restrictions, reopening, and prolonging the lockdown and restrictions; a precarious situation since Thailand closed its borders to most of the world from back in late March 2020.

As the country continues to battle the worst wave of Covid-19 it has seen yet, Phuket locals remain optimistic that it can still reopen in July, followed by other “sandbox projects”, and see some of the travellers return to their island.

Check out this honest appraisal of Thailand, and Phuket, re-opening in July…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    if it bounces

  2. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Maybe the Thai Government hasn’t heard about a breakthrough made by researches at a University in Australia (Queensland). Two medications that are peptides that are about to go into clinical trials and shortly human trials that don’t require cold storage and prevent infection with Covid or reduce it’s effects after infection. It’s expected they could be in production within 18 months and be delivered as a nasal spray. True story. So I think 2026 is a bit pessimistic! They are designed to be complimentary to vaccines and are effective against all variants of Covid 19, Worth investigating!!!! Until then, get out and get vaccinated!!!

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    I do not know why the government made such a pessimistic statement after saying the opposite for more than a year, certainly reasons of internal politics, having said that I think it is especially reasonable for Chinese tourists, to vaccinate a billion and put of people it takes time moreover the Chinese vaccines are not effective, India will also have a lot of difficulty in vaccinating its inhabitants, I think it will be different for Western countries that will be close to herd immunity at the end of the summer.
    The tourism numbers will therefore be very different, from 40 million people to a number below 10 million, meaning that the surviving industry will have to adapt to survive, perhaps remembering how it was in the 2000s.
    The lack of tourists and their currency will affect many sectors of the Thai economy, real estate and foreign investment among the first.

  4. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Sounds more sensible,same sort of date many senior management figures in the long haul aviation sector have been quoting and working towards for some amount of positive thinking or stupid schemes is going to change this.the little discussed but hugely important demise of the regular long haul buissness class passenger will have a massive effect on the availability of economy ticksts.only way forward is to concentrate on large regional markets such as india and china when they re open.

  5. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    I think it’s a very sensible timeframe. The whole world will take four or five years to recover from this pandemic. It’s still running rife and could continue for another year or two. 2026 seems about right to get numbers back up to 40 million visitors. My only surprise is that anyone had the courage to say it.

  6. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    To bad then that Thailand has run out of Astra vaccine as we speak and Siam Bioscience has not produced one single drop so far. All Thailand has is the CCP junk vaccine Sinovac right now. Long term planing ahead has never been the deal in Thailand together with logic thinking. 2026, and what is going to be left then, already this country is neck deep in economical trouble and a rising household debt, unemployment. Thailand will only go from bad to worse right sad to say.

  7. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Agree with mr. Cynic that the predicted lower numbers of business class passengers will be a huge factor in the availability and pricing of international long haul flights. It will certainly dampen mass tourism for the unforeseeable future. My two cents is that Thailand should relax the visa policies and requirements to allow for more long stay visitors. It is not a solution for every business affected but there is a lot of potential there.

  8. Avatar

    Sydney B

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    A somewhat pessimistic prediction. Or is this a covert way of warning people that they intend declaring Thailand a third world Country in a couple of years time?
    Get your people vaccinated Prayat.

  9. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Latest vaccination data.
    Thailand vaccinated 2.78 percent.
    Cambodia: 13.64 percent
    USA: 49.01.
    UK: 56.08
    Mongolia: 56.02
    Canada: 51.97
    Israel: 62.90
    Yes Thailand will not be ready for tourists for years to come.

  10. Avatar

    Richard Barker

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    A bounce is a bounce just depends how big a bounce they are talking about. Any bounce is better than no bounce at all

  11. Avatar

    Robin Banks

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    oh… allow me to write this in nice, large print and say it slowly:
    T H E R E ‘S N O B O D Y C O M I N G !!!!
    W H I C H B I T O F T H I S D O Y O U T H A I I D I O T S N O T U N D E R S T A N D ???!!

  12. Avatar

    Prison planet

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Grand solar minimum. The pandemic was cover for the incoming ice age. Gotta stop the movement of people first, next will come control over food. There is no light at the end of this tunnel. It might be 100 or more years until things get back to normal. 90% of the population will die with in 10 years.

    Good luck every one.

    Even nasa is talking about the gsm. This isn’t conspiracy non sense.

  13. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    After reading @Prison Planets comments I’m searching for the Nut Job filter !

  14. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    @jason This is not only about the number of tourists who can come, or not.

    In many places the industry is simply destroyed. Companies are bankrupt. They don’t come back that easily. People have to start over, provide money to invest, etc. That will take years.

    I do think that if you now have the money to invest, to take over things like hotels, bars and restaurants that you can achieve a good return on it within a few years.

  15. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    @Michael. I assume you mean if you set up a company and ensure 51% of the company you have bought is owned by a Thai. On paper your suggestion is potentially a good investment. However, due to restrictive business laws in Thailand then it remains a high risk venture.

  16. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    @Nigel – try as I can, I can see no sign of the Isaan oracle indications. therefore I conclude this is an new nut-Job.
    Alas . . .

  17. Avatar


    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    The idea the sector would bounce back in 2-3 years was always folly. Like most predictions out of Thailand, they are overly rosy until they are more realistic. It’s like the projected 2021 GDP number. It was predicted to be 5-6% back in November, now the government is talking 1-2%. Again the first number was never realistic and yet it was thrown out there for the public to see. It’s speculative at best the numbers will ever get back to the 40M range, even in 6-7 years.

  18. Avatar

    Robin Banks

    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    @Prison planet – agree man! This is all about population control of an over crowded planet and maintaining control of what..? some 8 billion people. introduce the notion of a deadly virus and everyone lives in fear and does as they’re told. THE ALARMING THING IS.. IT’S WORKING!

  19. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 12:02 am

    @Robin Banks – Nothing – they dont understand anything, , nothing at all . but see themself as a worldleading country hahahahahaha

  20. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 1:44 am

    Good video but overly pessimistic in my view, it is going to be slow but that’s a good thing whilst the mass vaccinations are going on in Thailand and around the world, which I believe is going to happen a lot quicker than people think, once it’s done it’s open season.

    I’m thinking about a visit Phuket in August but like he says I need more information, will I be resricted to certain areas, will the bars be open, etc, it all feels very risky right now so I’m waiting.

  21. Avatar

    Jackson Barnes

    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 3:04 am

    Certainly need more details from the government on quarantine requirements. Hoping they provide it soon. With clarity, people will be able to make plans and would be more willing to visit. I know I will be there when the details are clearly laid out. Looking forward to it!

  22. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 10:14 am

    I see the Thai intel service allerted the US that a suspected bioagent was released from the Wuhan lab. Why didn’t Thailand act before the virus spread and shut down an entire world for how long now including Thailand. Thailand says won’t rebound until 2026, WTF. Inexcusable whose running the country!

  23. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 11:25 am

    This seems to me to be an exercise in setting the bar low so they can easily achieve it. Tourism here in the USA is recovering quickly and places like Las Vegas and Orlando are packed with people NOW.

    Thailand’s tourism fortunes are tied to:

    1. How quickly vaccines are rolled out to those that want them.
    2. Actions taken by China and Russia, their largest markets.
    3. Thai actions such as easing visa/quarantine/insurance/bureaucracy requirements.

    If they do well in these areas then recovery can happen quickly. If they do a terrible job then 5 years sounds about right.

  24. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    I think even 2026 is optimistic. Nobody is going to visit while quarantine is in force and will go to countries like Mexico where you don’t even need a test. Holidays are booked anything up to 11 months in advance when flights go online. When all the hoops to jump through are eventually removed, those who regularly visited pre covid will have discovered other countries. Furthermore with many businesses in Thailand closing, what reason will they have to come?

  25. Avatar


    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    “it could be another half decade before …”

    OMG! Half a decade?

    Wow, that’s like (fiddles with fingers…), ooh, a twentieth of a century!

    Jesus Wept.

  26. Avatar

    Graham Smith

    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    @Richard Barker –
    Hahaha, yes its true, one is better than nothing

  27. Avatar

    Samuel Yeo

    Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Far too many are speculating on the return of tourism anywhere in the world.It will not happen until this crisis is really over.Vaccine is not a cure,as even after vaccination,precautions stll have to be taken.Otherwise,if people think it is going to be over soon,better pray hard.No one or even the medical scientists and experts can predict when tourism can actually return.

  28. Avatar

    Philip Thompson

    Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 5:41 am

    R.i.p. thailand. Self destruction button yet again.

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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