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83% drop in foreign tourists expected by the end of 2020

Caitlin Ashworth

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83% drop in foreign tourists expected by the end of 2020 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Joy Presbitero

Travel restrictions brought on by the Thai government, as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, have contributed to a drastic decline in number of foreign tourists with an expected drop of 83% from last year’s count of 39.8 million foreign tourists to this year’s predicted total of 6.74 million foreign tourists, according to President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Trirattanajarasporn.

The country’s borders are slowly opening back up, very slowly, with hopes that international tourists will help revive Thailand’s crippled tourism-dependent economy. Only 50,000 foreign tourists are expected for the fourth quarter of 2020. That’s a 99.5% drop from the year prior.

“Foreign tourist receipts for the quarter are down 99% with 4.5 billion baht in expenditures.”

Next year could be better, but the future is still unclear. Tourism officials have predicted 20 million foreign tourists will visit Thailand 2021, but Chairat says it’s still hard to know what next year will be like.

“If there is no vaccine and we still have a 14 day quarantine, I expect only hundreds of thousands of tourists next year.”

Thailand introduced the Special Tourist Visa to allow people to visit the country on a 90 stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. The move is expected to help revive the tourism industry, especially in areas that have heavily relied on international tourists like Phuket.

But only a limited number of people will be entering the country at a time on the Special Tourist Visa. The first group, around 120 to 150 tourists, will fly from China to Phuket next week. They are required to quarantine for 14 days at a certified facility.

The government might drop the 14 day quarantine in the next couple months for tourists from countries classified as low risk for spreading Covid-19. President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents Vichit Prakobogsol says the industry will pitch the idea to the government with hopes that the tourists can travel to Thailand without a quarantine by December.

SOURCE: Reuters

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 10:45 am

    I fully agree, a 14 day quarantine for all of 2021 will result in only hundreds of thousands, not millions. However it doesn’t need to be so. Use Barbados as an example. They have fully opened since July 1 and have a total count in that time frame of less than two hundred cases. They only have 5 current cases period.They used a four tier program. People from countries rated very low and have not visited counties recently rated high risk have no testing at all. Those from countries rated low only need a pre flight test. Those listed mid level only pre test, monitor for 7 days and test again at day 5. No quarantine. Those rated high level (including America and Britain) pre test, need to quarantine for 7 days either at a government facility at no cost, or an approved hotel at the guest cost, and test again at day 5. After the 7 day they are free to go without another test. You do need insurance which covers Covid, but no special visa or charter flights. Yes on masks and social distancing, no on beach restrictions.

  2. Avatar

    Richard Renwick

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 11:32 am

    It’s not that hard to predict? Between 0% and 2% of tourist’s from last year won’t be far off the mark.

  3. Avatar

    Latecomer

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    All “measures” were totally useless for Covid, but they ruined economy long term. UK or France are no better, by the way. Still insisting on hard approach, although they witnessed a catastrophal failure. On the other hand, Sweden is almost corona free, with no lockdowns and no masks

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Visitors will still arrive. The ones who have property or businesses.
    They will arrive to sell up and get out. Any trust the Thais had from foreigners is fast becoming lost.
    The Thais have revealed their true face, and it does not wear the Thai smile.
    Why? Well just one example: Thai Airways owe one billion US dollars in unpaid passenger refunds.

  5. Avatar

    John

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    I won’t go to a country for holiday which has that kind of restrictions. Easy as it is.
    Spending in average 10.000 – 15.000 USD in 14 days for a holiday. For some it might be much. For some it might be not much. Just say it. And there are many other beautiful places on earth where I could blast out that money :).

  6. Avatar

    Lol

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Cannot be 50000 people by the end of this year if government allows only 1000 people a month.

  7. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    And why did they push out people who were already in Thailand?

  8. Avatar

    Sylvia severi

    Friday, October 2, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    When are they going to allow those with retirement visa who have lived , own property, have private health insurance and contribute enormously to the Thai economy come back ? You allow now elite visitors but not those who live in Thailand to return .. this makes no sense whatsoever. I can guarantee many of those retirees who have invested in expensive property will as soon as possible divest themselves and move elsewhere. This is going to be a huge loss for Thailand as many expats had chosen Thailand for their retirement.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Road deaths

1st day of Songkran road safety campaign – 356 injuries, 25 deaths

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1st day of Songkran road safety campaign – 356 injuries, 25 deaths | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's notorious traffic and hazardous road conditions

The Songkran road safety campaign is off to a moderate start with a reported 25 deaths and 356 injuries across Thailand on Saturday. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general reports that there were 348 road accidents in the country on the first day of the campaign.

Though the figures don’t sound like an achievement, they are actually a fair bit lower than the average road death toll each day in Thailand throughout the year. Officials say that the real rush back home for the annual holiday will probably be tomorrow.

About 83% of the accidents involved motorbikes, 7.5% involved pick-up trucks and 4% were with cars. The biggest percentage of incidents happened between 4 and 8 pm, with 28% of accidents occurring in the late afternoon and early evening. Around 20% of crashes were between 8 am and noon, and 17% between noon and 4 pm.

Speeding is the number one cause of traffic accidents, with 32% of incidents a result of people driving too fast. Sudden lane switches, regardless of speed, contributed to about 20% of crashes. Alcohol was another major contributing factor, with intoxicated drivers involved in 23% of accidents that were attributed to drink-driving.

Bangkok, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai saw 2 fatalities on the roads of each province, while Phatthalung province in Southern Thailand had 22 injuries from 20 traffic accidents, the most in any province in Thailand.

As part of the Songkran road safety campaign, 342,000 cars, trucks and motorbikes were stopped and inspected by over 60,000 officials across Thailand yesterday. There are 1.913 main road checkpoints set up throughout the entire country. More than 58,000 citations were handed out to drivers for many different infractions, notably over 16,000 drivers were caught without a license and nearly 15,000 people were violating Thailand’s helmet laws by riding without one.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Road deaths

Thailand road accidents cost 500 billion baht per year

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Thailand road accidents cost 500 billion baht per year | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand - the most dangerous roads in Asia?

Thailand is notorious for its road and driving conditions, and a disproportionate number of driving accidents. The World Health Organisation now reports that road accidents cost an estimated 500 billion baht in 2019 alone. The WHO report placed Thailand as the number one country in ASEAN with a 32.7 per cent death rate, the highest in Southeast Asia. The Road Accident Victims Protection Co explains that the WHO calculates the financial damages of driving deaths in different countries around the world. Thailand’s 500 billion baht loss amounts to about 3 per cent of the country’s entire 2019 gross domestic product of 16.87 trillion baht.

By analyzing statistics and making projections about road deaths from 2021 to 2027, the estimates during the next 6 years that Thailand is facing an average of about 15,400 deaths per year in the best case, and looking a worst case scenario of over 18,600 deaths per year in traffic accidents. Adding an extra depressing edge to this gruesome statistic, the report shows that nearly 40% of those killed in traffic accidents are the heads of households. With the loss of the family head, an average of 2.43 people per death lose the support of their primary family earner, putting them in peril. The death of younger household leaders, and other untimely and unnatural deaths also may contribute in the longterm to a disparity in an aging population.

2020 saw a strong drop in road accidents and deaths, from 22,000 in 2019 to just under 18,000 fatalities, though this drop is mainly due to the national lockdown in April and general decrease in travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If Covid-19 improves in the coming month and the country springs back to life, the number of deaths are likely to spring back as well. Estimates show that road fatalities could return to 19,000-20,000 in all of 2021, which is about 1 death every 26 minutes. Worldwide about 317,000 people die in driving accidents every year, or about 1 every 23 seconds.

SOURCE: The Nation Thailand

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Songkran

Songkran activities cancelled in Ayutthaya due to Covid-19

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Songkran activities cancelled in Ayutthaya due to Covid-19 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Ayutthaya traditionally has elaborate Songkran celebrations

After the recent outbreak of Covid-19 across Thailand, in a large part due to entertainment activities, Thailand’s former capital city of Ayutthaya has now officially cancelled all Songkran festival activities for the upcoming holiday. All events previously planned to mark the Thai New Year’s holiday between April 13 and 15 have now been called off. An urgent declaration by the provincial governor today informed the public of the decision. Many people across the country are cancelling Songkran events or any observance of the holiday at all.

The decision by the province’s Songkran committee and the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Ayutthaya office was directed especially at tourists who may be planning to travel to the area for traditional festivities. Complex and ornate events had been planned, scheduled to be held on Si Sanphet road, with the sudden cancellation announcement abruptly ending the preparations for holiday merriment.

TAT and the local government agreed that the cancellation was necessary to prevent the possible spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in light of the current outbreak across Thailand. In Ayutthaya, 86 people have been infected with 21 new cases diagnosed yesterday. In an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Ayutthaya Hospital issued a statement limiting visits for hospital patients. The hospital encourages people to do video calls with their relatives as the hospital will only allow one relative to spend time with each patient. This overall situation led to the official decision to call off all Songkran festivities.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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