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Economic think-tank says the future of tourism in Thailand hangs on vaccination



PHOTO: Wikimedia

The research division of Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank says everything hangs on vaccination strategies, both here and abroad. Kevalin Wangpichayasuk from the Kasikorn Research Centre says the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines globally will have a significant impact on the recovery of tourism in the Kingdom, with 2 million foreign tourists expected to arrive in the last quarter of the year. However, she points out that this is a huge drop from tourism’s hey day and the country will still be heavily reliant on the domestic market.

“Thailand’s path to economic recovery will mostly depend on the tourism industry (outlook) as to when the country will reopen for foreign tourist arrivals. The Covid-19 vaccines and the (re-opening) policy of each country will have a significant impact on the recovery of Thailand’s tourism industry in 2021.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, Kevalin says the rollout of vaccines in countries from where most visitors to Thailand originate, coupled with the administration of vaccines in the Kingdom, will be instrumental in how quickly tourism recovers. Specifically, the revival of foreign tourism hinges on vaccine rollouts in 10 countries, including China, Japan, the US, and several European nations, as well as the progress of the Thai government’s Covid-19 vaccine programme.

“Other crucial factors are whether Thailand’s quarantine period is reduced, the clarity of vaccine passport policy, and if countries would allow their citizens to travel to Thailand.”

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has announced that the mandatory quarantine period may be reduced for vaccinated arrivals from October. The proposal will go to the CCSA board, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Monday.

Last year, Thailand welcomed just 6.7 foreign visitors, a year-on-year decline of over 83%. In January, the number of international tourists was 7,694, a massive year-on-year drop of 99.8%. The current mandatory quarantine of 14 days is widely seen as the most significant obstacle in the battle to revive the sector.

The Kasikorn Research Centre says the Kingdom’s GDP is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2021, primarily due to a recovery in exports, various economic stimulus measures, and Covid-19 containment measures being less severe than last year. However, the think-tank warns that should the number of foreign visitors not reach the expected 2 million, that growth forecast could drop.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Patrick Nouvel

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Stop to say year on year, from 25th March 2020 to 25 March 2021 probably less that 10.000 tourists, balance are only returnees !!! 6.7 Millions was only for 1st 3 months, far already from at least 10 Millions beg 2019 mostly due start of pandemia in the world + too high bath, immigrations hassles, growing competition from nearby countries.

  2. dave

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 10:38 am

    the article is correct in stating that the most important obstacle to international tourism is the mandatory 14, now 15 day quarantine. Get rid of that, like many other countries are doing, and the international tourists, like me, will be arriving in Thailand, instead of traveling elsewhere.

  3. EdwardV

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Notice they have once again revised downward the number of expected tourists for this year, from 3.5M to 2M. The expected GDP growth of 2.6% seems overly optimistic considering the first quarter (Oct 2020 to Jan 2021) was actually down about -4.2%.

  4. Rob Spencer

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    By your wording, you claim more Americans visit Thailand than British or European…HAHAHAHAHAHA UTTER NONSENSE…More British & Europeans visit i would say at least 50/1…But of course if you would prefer Americans than us Europeans, we can always go elsewhere…

  5. luca

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    Thailand like China has applied the virus elimination policy, this means that international tourism in Thailand will not return until all Thais are vaccinated and this will not happen until mid 2022.
    Neither the Chinese nor the Indians will be able to vaccinate their population of over one and a half billion people before two years, which means that when Thailand reopens to international tourism there will be no Chinese and Indians.
    The near future of the Thai tourism industry is dark.

  6. Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    I have noticed Thais unfortunately not very skilled at arithmetic. For instance when adding up our restaurant bill, they often arrive at a figure higher than the true price.
    Alas, I suppose their schooling is not of the best . . .

  7. Bvin

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Even after the jab, will Thai visa rules make travel there attractive? Thai visa paperwork and requirements are insane now that visa on arrival is no longer. Its confusing, has all kinds of strange requirements for letters from authorities, and is laced with fees and bank deposit requirements. Now that the lawyers and government bureaucrats can get a cut i don’t see visa stamp on arrival ever returning,

  8. Issan John

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Unfortunately, luca, the very clear reality is that according to K Anutin’s recent announcement Thailand has NOT “applied the virus elimination policy” and “international tourism in Thailand” WILL return well BEFORE “all Thais are vaccinated” with the worst of both worlds –

    – international tourists, albeit only a few, who will NOT have been quarantined for 14 days but only for 10, and a population where only 70% of health workers and the most vulnerable (plus politicians and MPs) will have been vaccinated, so possibly as few as 20% of the general population.

    … so very limited international tourism, but an increased risk of importing and spreading Covid-19, which if it happens the country will be unable to handle and treat, with an equally increased risk of lockdowns and a return to no international tourism while others who have held their nerve for longer will reap the reward while the Thai economy collapses.

  9. Uapo

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Tourism will return when people say it will return. People without money means people without good and healthy food, that means also people with weak immune system, that also means people die more and more, also mental health, families destroyed etc. Health is not just covid19, its way more than “protecting” your grandmom. There is no grandmoms id there is no business, business is same as health. Ring a bell?? Think more wide and look less tv.

  10. Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    The Thai do not seem to be vaccinating in comparison to other nations, which lead me to believe they are too incompetent to vaccinate, or wish to keep the quarantine rules and the profit they make from that.
    On reflection, I think they are too incompetent to vaccinate as fast as is possible.

  11. Johnnie Dee

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 2:16 am

    I do recall many months ago one guy on here saying that Thais don’t rely on tourism well here’s showing you months down the line what I said is that Thais do need tourism and now it showing !!

  12. LondonAl

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 2:19 am

    Good old Issan John, doom monger supreme, how about sparing a thought for the situation in Thailand right now, the Thai economy is already collapsing with hardly any cases, let alone deaths, the other countries can afford to wait becase they don’t have such a huge reliance on tourism, if Thailand does what you’re suggesting, ie all cower in the corner until the whole world is vaccinated, then places like Phuket are looking at economic armageddon.

  13. ELLE

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 4:13 am



  14. Social Observer

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 5:00 am

    “Economic think-tank says the future of tourism in Thailand hangs on vaccination.” Brilliant! My cat agrees.

  15. BangkokBen

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 6:51 am

    Even after almost everyone in Thailand is vaccinated, the government will say that because of new Covid variants and the fact that no vaccine is 100% effective, they still cannot remove the quarantine requirement.

  16. Amy Sukwan

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 9:59 am

    They needed a think tank to say this? How much are these “experts” getting paid? It’s been obvious for a while that Thailand bet everything on vaccine rollouts saving the day. It’s still based on the laughable assumption that millions of people are just pounding on Thailand s door desperate to get in. I’d say a lot of those folks who have been vaccinated and are itching to travel will go where their vaccinated status best serves them with no quarantine at all. A fair number of folks are unwilling or unable to get vaccinated, some are scared to travel regardless, some have no money to travel, some don’t trust Covid tests and the business risk of false positives, etc cetera. All of this will continue to add up to a very big bucket of folks not coming here. At least they revised the international arrivals number down to 2 million. I’m guessing it will come in under 1 mil…the first step to get out of the hole is to stop digging!

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