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Airlines, hotels say 2021 likely to be even worse than last year

Maya Taylor




Thai airlines and hotels fear that the tourism crisis in 2021 is set to dwarf last year’s in terms of its impact, as they appeal for government aid. The Bangkok Post reports that Asia Aviation, the largest shareholder in Thai AirAsia, has warned that when international tourism eventually does resume, there may not be enough suppliers to meet demand as most operators have had to shut down.

Executive chairman Tassapon Bijleveld says despite the government’s domestic tourism stimulus campaign, over 1.3 million airline seats, out of a quota of 2 million, remain available. Even though the subsidy has been increased from 2,000 to 3,000 baht, Tassapon says the low take-up is indicative of people’s reluctance to fly, opting to travel to destinations within driving distance instead. He says this is particularly true following the resurgence of Covid-19 late last year.

Earlier this week, the National Economic and Social Development Council stated that international tourism numbers are likely to drop to 3.2 million just year, half that of last year’s 6.7 million arrivals.

Airlines have already had to vastly decrease the number of flights on offer, with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand reporting more than a 27% year-on-year decrease in domestic passengers in the last quarter of 2020. The decrease in international flights for the same period was over 99%. Tassapon says Thai AirAsia now operates just 20 flights a day, using just 10 of its 62 aircraft. Prior to the resurgence of the virus, TAA was using 40 aircraft. It has also had to suspend 75% of employees this month, with most having to take unpaid leave.

“Not only are airlines facing an impact, but half of the restaurants and shops in Don Mueang airport have had to close temporarily which could indicate the lower level of consumption.”

Meanwhile, businesses are still unclear on the proposal for soft loans, with the government currently focused on this week’s no-confidence debate.

“We really have no idea about the details of the proposal from Exim Bank and don’t know when the cabinet will mull this issue. It’s like we’re walking with blind eyes during the crisis now.”

Meanwhile, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi from the Thai Hotels Association says operators currently have no way of knowing when they might see a return to business as usual.

“When we seek loans, banks always request our business plan or the period we can earn profit, but under these circumstances, hotels don’t really have a clue when will business get back to normal.”

She says half of Thailand’s hotels have now shut down, while the other half continue to limp along. While some hotel workers have managed to keep their jobs, they are missing out on tips, which contributed significantly to their overall pay. Some properties are having to accommodate their workers on site as they are no longer able to pay their rent.

“We need support from the government, or else we could see the whole tourism industry collapse before things get back to a better shape.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Just wait until the coast is clear & the flu is eradicated. No problem waiting as I’m sure those in the tourism sector will be taken care of by the government. Maybe the lockdown locals can help too. Another year of an airport that can pass for a ghost town. Seems like even the various schemes are on the back burner. Not a lot of optimism in the Kingdom. 21 Day Quarantine is yet another piece of interesting news. My God the paranoia is unyielding!

    • Avatar

      Esan Slidee

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10:28 am

      21 days quarantine the brilliant ideas keep flowing – sad for those who called Thailand home for so many years – many will pull their investment and banks will soon pressure the government

  2. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10:10 am


    • Avatar

      Dean Joseph

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10:25 am


  3. Avatar


    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10:37 am

    A revision downward to 3.2M tourists for 2021, that’s more reasonable. Still the ramifications of a number that low is brutal for the industry. We can only hope many of them make it to October (or when ever Thailand drops the quarantine).

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:36 am

      As I think everyone – and I mean EVERYONE, not just everyone here – has realised by now that the only answer to dropping quarantine and bringing back tourism is mass vaccination, then the writing’s on the wall for anyone responsible for any delay – and I mean ANYONE.

      • Avatar

        Fred glue

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:49 am

        Right again, IJ

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:08 pm

        There’s one other possibility. A variation or mutation which is more virulent but doesn’t kill or incapacitate the population (so it is more like the regular flu) could become dominant and suppress the more dangerous virus. Chances are slim but it could happen.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Here in Phnom Penh there is tourism.
    This last weekend for the Chinese New Year, there were quite a number of Chinese in town.
    Somehow I suspect they did not go through quarantine.
    I overheard an Indian business man in a bar saying: Yes I have just flown in.
    If so, he should have been in quarantine.
    There is a night life here. Hotels still have guests. Beer is still 50 cents a draft in many places. Wine $2 a glass. Whisky $1.50 a shot with mixer.
    Meanwhile over the border the stupid Thais are suffering because their over reaction to the risk of the virus.
    They think the tourists will flock back, but the Thais have lost goodwill. Too many tourists have lost hotel deposits when the hotels knew the tourists were prevented from arriving.
    Too many tourists have lost flights to Thai Airways without refunds.
    The Thais have been revealed as being conniving, sneaky, dishonest. When the money was rolling in they were all smiles, but at the first sign of difficulty their true face is shown.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:40 am

      Lucky for you Thailand threw you out, Toby.

      • Avatar

        Fred glue

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:50 am

        Right again , IJ

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:11 pm

        No Thailand did not throw me out. I fled, because I could see what was about to happen.
        And it is still happening; lockdowns, bans, closed bars. Closed hotels.
        I escaped that.
        Now as you speculate about my reason for being in Cambodia, I will speculate about your reason for being in Thailand.
        You are a Remittance man. A term for an undesirable person who is sent abroad on a one way ticket, and supplied with a monthly remittance, so that they will not return and disgrace the family.

        • Avatar


          Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 1:19 pm

          You could see what would happen? or told what would happen by a fortune teller?

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm

            No I went to my fortune teller and told her: I want my palm read. She hit it with a spanner.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 1:25 pm

          That’s odd, Toby.

          Before, you “fled” to get away from the “corruption” and “dictator” you keep banging on about here so you went to Cambodia instead 😮

          Now it was to “escape” Thailand’s “closed bars” and instead enjoy Cambodia’s “nightlife” and cheap drinks.

          Oh well, we all have different priorities in life, Toby.

          A “remittance man”? Hardly, I came here because I’d previously spent nearly all my working life abroad and chose to settle in Thailand – a choice I’m happy with every day, but which you no longer have.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2:15 pm

            Well I could go back to Thailand, but why should I put up with expensive 14-16 days quarantine? And then come out to lockdowns, closed bars, closed attractions, and all the rest of rubbish Thais expect tourists to suffer.
            We do have different priorities, you enjoy being a big fish in north east Thailand, because you support a large extended family of parasites, and their buffalo and dog.
            I could not stand it myself. all those false smiles, still you might believe they really do like you and not your money.
            Yes give me the bars and the nightlife, away from clouds of mosquitos, and cockerels crowing all night up in some poverty stricken hamlet in Isan.
            By the way 15000 Cambodians have returned in the last 7 weeks to Cambodia. They are leaving the sinking ship.
            The quarantine centres are full.

          • Avatar

            Fred glue

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 3:04 pm

            Right again , IJ

        • Avatar


          Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 5:18 pm

          Remittance man. Just learned something new. I once met an old weird chap like that on the Cook islands. He was very talkative and annoying because he went to each table in the restaurant. I had finished my meal and sat alone and was curious because he certainly didn’t look like a tourist. He told me he was inherited by his family who supported hem to get by but leaving him without funds to escape the tiny island. He was stuck there already for a decade. Of course, he was asking for money to get out.

    • Avatar

      Graham Smith

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2:47 pm

      The last two lines are the day truth, sooooo true!

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      The Chinese in Phnom Penh are likely from Sihanoukville on a day or weekend trip with the odd investor who flew in from China. Just saw a recent documentary about Chinese in Cambodia. They basically taken over Sihanoukville with huge hotels, casino’s and karaoke bars. All very ugly. The city is ruined. One boss had a massive chain with hidden prostitution in China. The authorities shut him down but he surfaced in Cambodia to start again. Funny detail was that the city employed officers who went around town to check Chinese advertising posters and banners. Even menu’s were scrutinized. The rule is that it should be bilingual and Cambodian language should be on the top. Many Chinese didn’t care or didn’t know. They had to destroy it on the spot. Some were massive banners.

    • Avatar

      Simple Math

      Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:00 pm

      You are right, Toby. Plus you probably don`t need to wax lyrical about your Cambodian hotel in your online review lest you are jailed for disliking it.

    • Avatar

      joe molinario

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      Thais are xenophobic poeple, discriminate even their own brethren because of creed/deed/skincoor,
      I Wish them all the worst, ,I live here for over 40 years had family w. 2 kids whom I et study.
      The “GUANTIN” wife took al our money sold the house and land and cars, I landed in the sreet, the kids have a dorm together whilst studying, and I am 77 years old and aiing ( the usual age eated problems, high blood pressure, prostae cancer, diabetes, ,high chllestera level etc.etc, cannot even go back to my homeland as al my family died out.
      I live and support my kids with my meagre pension, from which I have to finance my stay and visa.The Thai andworld tourism died of a corona dead and will stay dead, arrivals of touristsin 2021 will not exeed 100 000 thousends.GUANTIN MEANS CROOKIN CHINESE/THAI

  5. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:31 am

    More countries are opening for vaccinated people – no quarantine.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:59 am

      The Seychelles was the first a month ago, IIRC, followed by Estonia, Iceland and Romania.

      Hardly likely to make even a tiny fraction of difference to Thailand or Bali, although Cyprus is due to follow suit next month and Ayia Napa could attract some of the Magaluf / Pattaya dregs.

      Looking at the actual numbers going to the Seychelles, despite other countries being closed the numbers are still minimal so the idea that tourists are going elsewhere sounds credible but the facts, easily verifiable, paint a very different picture.

      • Avatar

        Fred glue

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:02 pm

        Right again, IJ

        • Avatar

          David Mann

          Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:00 pm

          ???. Best way to treat this fool. I’m on a number of chat and discussion groups both social and professional. Every group has it’s arrogant know it all’s. However, most have an underlying reason and justification for being that way. I’ve never come across someone stuck in a backwater like Issan and spending all their day on Google looking up meaningless “facts” and figures to try and disprove what is simply an opinion of others. Such a funny guy ?????

          • Avatar


            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:54 pm

            Hey, don’t knock Isan, mate! One of the better places in the world.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 5:01 pm

            “I’m on a number of chat and discussion groups both social and professional”

            I’m sure you are 😮

        • Avatar


          Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 9:06 pm

          Wow this Fred Glue fellow sounds very intelligent, can he say something other the ‘right ij’ ? Besides Edward v this is another one of Issan John’s imaginary friends, he needs all the support that he can get.

          • Avatar

            David Mann

            Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:46 am

            I think he’s taking the piss out of that idiot Issan John. I think it’s working nicely as well

      • Avatar

        albert zweistein

        Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 3:30 am

        You’r talking BS as usual, Romania was never closed. We just got back from there.
        By the way, are you not fed up with this sticky glue guy ?

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 10:14 am


          “Romania was never closed”?

          They “never” quarantined those arriving from yellow listed countries, subsequently allowing them in without quarantine if they were fully vaccinated?

          They “never” made that change on 18 January?

          … if you “just got back from there”, maybe that could explain it ….. no need to apologise.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      Besides the fact Mexico never closed, and about half the Caribbean already had reopened without need of vaccination. Greece and Spain have vowed to reopen to those vaccinated by start of summer. I think a few more like Italy, Denmark, Sweden and maybe Israel might also. Many European countries depend on the summer like Thailand does the winter. For those it’s a race against time, and time isn’t their friend.

  6. Avatar

    Andy W

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    2022 won’t be an amazing year for tourism in Thailand either.
    Yes there will probably be a brief rush for the regulars who haven’t been here for 18+ months and whose income hasn’t been too badly effected by the event, but there will be a serious global recession for a few years whilst the economies of the world stabilise.
    So whilst 2022 will be better than 2020/21, it won’t be great for world tourism. Thailand likes to think it’s special and it was, but year by year it’s become less special and 2022 may finally make Thai officials understand that.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 1:37 pm

      The only thing I find “amazing” in all this is that those who are most adamant that nobody’s “interested” in Thailand any more are the same ones who are evidently the most “interested” themselves otherwise they wouldn’t be commenting here and following every development 🙂

      • Avatar

        Andy W

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 1:52 pm

        Who said no one is interested in Thailand? I love the country and have done for over 30 years, but it’s no longer particularly special to the 1st time holiday maker like it was as recently as 2010. It’s on their list but there’s plenty of competition for there Money now and Thailand isn’t the value for money paradise that it once was. The Thai officials seem to think they can compete with places like Monte Carlo but they can’t.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2:54 pm

          “Who said no one is interested in Thailand?”

          Quite a few in pretty much every comments section here, including this one.

          Your view that “it’s no longer particularly special to the 1st time holiday maker like it was as recently as 2010” isn’t supported by the NSO data, which shows that there were 5,173,779 first time visitors in 2010 and 13,693,295 in 2019.

          According to the NSO, Thailand had 15,936,400 tourists in 2010 and 39,916,251 in 2019, so the proportion of first time visitors has remained much the same – about a third.

          … and FWIW the tourism receipts have gone up from US$18.7 billion in 2010 to US$61.5 billion in 2019, …

          … with an average spend per head per day of US$160 in 2010, and US$166 in 2019 – with mainland Chinese spending US$197 per head per day in 2019, Americans spending US$153, and Europeans spending US$131.

          Biggest spenders were from Brunei, Hong Kong and the Middle East, while the lowest were the French on US$112 per day and Germans on US$115.

          Lies, damned lies and statistics, admittedly.

          • Avatar

            Fred glue

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 3:06 pm

            Right again, IJ

          • Avatar

            Andy W

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 3:54 pm

            Again you seem to miss the point.
            I did not say no one is interested. Yes new people visited, but they have so much more choice and a very large portion of Thailand’s new non- Chinese visitors are backpackers/gap-year crowd who aren’t the millionaires TAT target. Can you not see that there’s a global economic depression? Cash is/will be limited for a few years and that also applies to the Chinese, although they’re so many of them that it’ll be a bit less noticeable. Even the wealthy Chinese are taking long hard look at where there long term income will be coming from.
            I don’t expect Thailand’s tourism to take off in 22 in the same way I don’t believe anywhere will boom, and certainly not with the multi-millionaires TAT seem to think it will.

          • Avatar

            David Mann

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:11 pm

            Go on IJ. I’m bored this morning and my first Zoom call isn’t for another two hours. So let me ask. How do the Thais know so accurately the number of First time visitors? From the little box you tick on the TM6? Or from the Passport number? From the fact they don’t recognise them as they pass through immigration?

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 5:14 pm

            No, Andy W, I got the point, !and I didn’t say that YOU had said that people weren’t interested but that “quite a few had”.

            “Yes”, people have more choice, but your suggestion that there are less first time visitors than in 2010, either raw numbers or in terms of overall percentages is simply wrong.

            It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it’s wrong.

            … and “yes” I can “see that there’s a global economic depression” that affects tourism, which is why I’ve said so several times!

      • Avatar

        Fred glue

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 3:05 pm

        Right again, IJ

      • Avatar

        David Mann

        Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:03 pm

        ????? So funny

      • Avatar

        David Mann

        Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:47 am

        “The only thing I find amazing”

        Yeah I’m sure it is ????

  7. Avatar


    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Fred us your keyboard stuck 555
    In if those figures are correct and I don’t doubt they are that was then this is now what are the predictions for 2021 and 2022 I’m sure they will be vastly different. once borders open up people In the UK who are working have got alot of money saved up cos there’s knowhere to spend it at the moment so I hope Thailand does find a way to properly open up or the dollars go elsewhere

  8. Avatar

    Daniel Verex

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Are these ‘tourism’ figures counting the number of internal Thai/ex-pat tourists moving around inside Thailand.

    International tourism must be hovering around the zero mark. Until the quarantine is lifted, only the business people are travelling.

    However, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a travel advert for “come and enjoy a 2 week staycation in a 5 star hotel. All food and drink (if allowed) and you don’t have to move an inch. Wifi included”

  9. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    What ever gave them that idea…………..

  10. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Hey. guess what?? I DON’T GIVE A FUCK! I’m ok…my life’s good. I don’t worry about Covid for one second….why should I? IT WON’T AFFECT ME!!!
    Moving on to more important matters, has anyone seen the price of a a ‘kit-Kat’? 40 BAHT!! That’s 1 GBP… NOW THAT IS WORTH WORRYING ABOUT!!!

  11. Avatar

    Roland Nystad

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Sorry to say,the tourist indusyri will die in 2021,other and better destinations, cleaner,and no need to fly half way around the globe to watch plastics and garbage everywhere,,

  12. Avatar

    London Al

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Can we stick to the topic please, it’s clear vaccinations are the answer to the tourist problem and I don’t see any reason why someone who has been vaccinated and produced negative tests shouldn’t be allowed in, some people think you can carry Covid even if you’ve been vaccinated, there is no proof of that and even if there was surely it would be picked up with a test.

    It’s becoming obvious here in Gilead that we’re going to have to live with Covid, there will be deaths just as there are from flu, road accidents, etc, it’s a question of keeping them to a minimum without destroying the economy, what’s happening now is unsustainable.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:05 am

      London A1, if “surely it would be picked up with a test” if you’re vaccinated, then “surely it would be picked up with a test” if you’re not vaccinated?

      Maybe you should give your idea of logic a little more thought.

      • Avatar

        David Mann

        Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:49 am

        ???. What a horrid person you are. I bet the people in your backwater village just love you ????

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 10:08 am

          Wow 😮

          You really must be “bored”.

          How does the Thai ONS know the stats?

          No idea – why not ask them?

          • Avatar


            Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 2:20 pm

            I think your anger stems from the fact you watch your ex bar girl of a Thai wife still walking around like ‘John Wayne’ due to the fact of having rode more winners than Lester Piggott. You are clearly miserable in your bleak surroundings and wonder the reason you will be stuck there until your day comes is they now have registers where you came from ‘30 years’ ago …

  13. Avatar

    daniel verex

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Still not had an answer to a question about vaccinations. Will a vaccinated person test positive or negative to a covid test on the basis of what’s been injected into the body?

  14. Avatar

    Richard King

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 4:28 am

    They tried all sorts of ideas and not worked most are not fans of any quarantine on top of that, Most hope that the vaccine would open travel but at this time it is still a waiting game to see if the data support it.
    Until it fully open without restrictions not much will change it still requires the large number of tourist even if you change the model for it to work.

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