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Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry

Maya Taylor



Leading Thai academics are calling on the government to get a move on and help the tourism industry before it’s too late. Addressing a gathering arranged by the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion, Kiriya Kulkolkran from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Economics, pointed to the 80% drop in international tourism as a result of the Covid-19 fallout. His estimate includes the first few months of the year when there was actually a functional tourism industry in Thailand.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Kiriya says just 4% of businesses in the tourism sector say they’ve made the same amount or more than they did before Covid-19. She adds that a survey shows employees in the industry are concerned about debt accumulation and “extremely worried about the future”.

Bovorn Subsing, from Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, has backed up the comments, saying tourism workers have seen their wages drop by 60%, while still facing the same, or higher, cost of living. The result is that most are now in debt.

Kiriya predicts the devastation could continue for over 3 years, affecting not just tourism operators but the entire supply chain, as well as new graduates and those seeking their first job. She says that until the sector recovers, the government needs to provide tailored help for businesses, singling out Phuket hotels, who are struggling to survive without foreign guests.

The islands of Phuket and Samui, plus the other ‘tourist’ islands around Thailand, are facing a particular problem as they’re mostly geared for the international tourist market. Domestic tourism, rebooted last July when the local airlines were permitted to fly again, has mostly shunned the popular tourist islands.

One worker at a Phuket hotel, 52 year old Anchisa Sirinanthasak, addressed the forum in support of a possible co-payment scheme for hotel workers. It’s understood most hotel operators are paying employees 62-75% of their normal salary, which works out at around 8,000-9,000 baht per person and is not enough to cover their costs.

Meanwhile, Manop Kaewphaka from Homenet Thailand, a non-profit that protects home-based workers, has called on the government to allow foreign tourists back into the Kingdom and to provide more support for informal workers, in the form of wage guarantees and co-payment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:28 am

    While this calamity has affected a certain segment of the population harder than others, then I wonder what all the luxury hoteliers have done with the huge profits they have reaped for the past couple of decades? I guess no one has saved for a rainy day? In Phuket foreign residents are still being met by xenophobic locals who are more than willing and happy to overcharge us. Im sorry, but you shall reap as you sow.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      The flushing of oversaturated tourism is long overdue, and this correction and reset can only benefit the Thai economy as it moves away from low skilled tourism to more high value tech jobs, and allows the environment to recover from hordes of former-Soviet and CCP-subjects.

      • Avatar


        Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 10:59 am

        Better than all this fxxxx Yanks and Western pissheads.

      • Avatar

        Robert Bunker

        Friday, January 29, 2021 at 1:08 pm

        Only problem there is the 10-20 years minimum to up-skill a country’s population. I worked in Singapore in 90’s and saw such a plan come to fruition 3 decades after launch by Lee Juan Yew, Singapore’s visionary leader. Oops there’s another couple of problems.. No vision or leadership in Thailand currently.

  2. Avatar

    jesus Monroe

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:39 am

    hurry hurry hurry while the sale lasts…..and lasts……..till the country is the last one to visit……. In 6 years it will like the 70s.

    • Avatar

      Jon Smiths

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 5:19 pm

      I remember Phuket in the 70’s, it was beautiful

  3. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Back to the rice field economy pretty soon. Most economic damages will leave ugly scars…

  4. Avatar


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    What we can say is that by whatever means and the part played by luck, the people of Thailand have avoided the covid pandemic.

    Not so the economy. Tourism contributes probably 25% to GDP, directly and indirectly and provides some income to possibly as much as half the people – the poorer half at that.

    So far so good for public health. Now the world vaccine should allow borders to reopen.

    However – and here is the problem – the government appears to be loading would-be tourists and non-Thai residents with financial and political burdens than can only be of benefit to the elite. Research shows that once protests reach a critical proportion of the population, the government is doomed.

    That mass is 3% or roughly 2 million Thais. Compare with the reverse urbanisation that another comment here refers to.

  5. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Thailand may be the last country to reopen . Seems like the populace have decided that it’s ok to let the economy tank for a few years. I hope the recovery process goes well but I am skeptical.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      FYI Vietnam has already said its aiming at the end of next year at the earliest.

  6. Avatar

    Timothy L Smith

    Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 3:47 am

    Wow. Thai news just gets more stupid every day! You need an academic person to tell you what’s the problem! WHAAAAT!!!??? Here let me help. People come from the rest of the world to vacation in Thailand because it was easy to travel and fairly inexpensive and a fun and beautiful place. People do not come to Thailand when the Thai government makes it a HUGE HASSEL and NO fun or vacation time when you visit Thailand now. Adjust the quarantine, issue STVs. Whatever. You still will only get people to come back if you dump all the foolishness: required bank account balance, excessive funds required, 14 day or 10 or 4 day quarantine. Doesn’t matter! Make all you lame plans and agendas and and and… No one is coming back until you make it the same to get in as it was in 2019. You are keeping families apart!

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 10:45 pm

      In a nutshell right Mr Smith.

  7. Avatar


    Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I’m still laughing

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