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International travel in 2021 is unpredictable – Tourism Authority of Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Unsplash: Aleksei Zaitcev

The future of Thailand’s travel industry is “opaque”, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn. For once the usually over-optimistic TAT has made a completely honest assessment of the current situation.

“There are unpredictable factors that come into play when trying to determine how 2021 will pan out, like the availability of a Covid-19 vaccine, the number of coronavirus infections and travel restrictions. The tourism sector might not have what’s considered a normal revenue, at least 80% of the pre-pandemic level, until 2022.”

“We set 2021 as a year of adjustment before seeing a leap in 2022. We forecast Thailand will achieve 2.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2022, or 80-90% of 2019, which recorded 3 trillion baht.”

In reality, any large tourism recovery to pre-Covid numbers could take a lot longer.

Yuthasak says he met with an official from the Chinese Embassy and says that large groups of Chinese tourists, who made up around 10 million, or 25%, of foreign arrivals in 2019, will probably not travel to Thailand until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. It’s unclear how long it will take to commercially produce a vaccine and distribute it across the world.

A rebound in international tourism is expected around the third quarter of 2021 or in 2022, according to the World Tourism Organisation, based on the current situation but, learning from this year’s events, recoveries in any industry are highly speculative.

For Thailand, Yuthasak says the country might see a moderate number of international guests around the second and third quarter of 2021 with more tourists visiting during the summer when the spread of the virus is considered to slow down due to the hot weather.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    “Chinese tourists … will probably not travel to Thailand until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available.” – Like a cold bucket of water to the face. I’m guessing after summer at the earliest, more likely in time for next years high season.

  2. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    With border closed, stupid visa requirements and a violent monarch ruling the country is more than predictable, is dead.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, November 27, 2020 at 9:49 pm

      Rex regnat sed non gubernat.

      Maybe you would do well to remember who said “Thailand is the land of compromise”, even if others have ignored it.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Wow … who’d have guessed?

  4. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    “will probably not travel to Thailand until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available.”

    Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention and more than 2 brain cells to rub together (ie not anyone in TAT) could have told them that about China, hell many of us have been screaming it for months everytime they came out with a new plan. Does this mean Thailand will stop building any and all reopening plans around China? Probably not, bet you within the next week we see yet another one.

  5. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    The Thai government only focuses on the Chinese market, and they completely neglect the rest of the world.

    They think Chinese tour groups will save the Thai tourism industry with the groups who stay in 20 dollar hotels in Jomtien and only go to organised programs.

    The ignore that the real revenue comes from Farangs and Japanese/ Koreans who spend 10 000 Baht every night in entertainment venues.

    • Avatar

      James cooks

      Friday, November 27, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      Chinese tour groups,if stay on 4 star hotels normally ZERO tour fare

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 12:53 am

      It’s certainly underreported that white people spend a huge amout on beer and women and travel and accommodation and food and whether it’s popular or not, it is a substantial income stream both for the government and for Thai people directly; Chinese just don’t.

  6. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Mai pen lai,

    thailand does not need tourism of any kind nowadays due to the country being an industrial power house anyway.

    Sadly a few folks will lose their jobs but that’s ok as they can all easily be re employed by the many many locally owned world famous brands located on the eastern seaboard.

    Mama and papa back east will not have to sell the Hilux or buddha forbid cancel the satellite telly subscription!

    Got rid of all those loud noisy uncultured folks from the middle Kingdom and as a bonus most of those ke neow smelly long nosed types who come from buddha knows where.

    Happy days indeed,Sabai sabai

    And we all lived happily ever after


  7. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    They are ‘THAI”!!!…….. enough said guys!

  8. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Of course Chinese will not come till Q4 2021 or later. It will take the whole year to vaccine Chinese and Thailand is by no mean a trusted covid country since Chinese trust nobody so far (not to mention that it is economically better to keep the Chinese at home for the Chinese government). Now… let’s stop pretending that the “travel together” has any real affect and let’s imagine that the biggest Thai groups have to survive till 2022 bleeding cash. Will they reach 2022…? Nothing is less sure…

  9. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Thailand won’t be open until a large part of its population is vaccinated. Simple.
    If you think this bunch of clowns can organise production and mass distribution of a new vaccine by 2022, then your deluded.
    Borders will remained closed.

  10. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    “….the real revenue comes from Farangs and Japanese/ Koreans who spend 10 000 Baht every night in entertainment venues.”


    Any evidence to support that?

    (just asking …)

    • Avatar


      Friday, November 27, 2020 at 11:21 pm

      a bill of that size by a Japanese corporate type entertaing clients would be considered very small.

      80 to 100 k per night would probably be a more reasonable estimate.

      There are many places in Bangkok that cater to such types round ekami and soi thanyiana/silom that I know of and suspect many more must exist city and country wide.

      It is considered very good value compared to the price of such entertainment back home in Japan.

      It is far from uncommon for them to settle such bills in cash even though often on expenses.

  11. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    The organization of the vaccine and how to administer to millions will not be easy. Travel will take years to recover fully and those involved in tourism will bear the brunt . There are no easy answers.

  12. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    Whatever has been said in this article applies to all countries the tourism and travel

    No one is traveling anywhere at the moment.

    Once Thailand has been inoculated with the Dirty Farang vaccine from Oxford, tourists will flood back in.

  13. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    Any business that closes for only a month will lose customers.
    A business that closes for nine months will have customers forget that they are there.
    Thailand tourism is a business,

  14. Avatar

    Greg Chapman

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 2:15 am

    Sure, me for one … 3 trips a year, average night out as follows:
    Drinks for me = B1,000
    Drinks for girls= B1,500
    Bar fine =B. 6-800
    Money for girl. =B3,000 +
    Meal for girl
    and me. = B2-3,000
    Taxis,tips etc = B1,500

    It soon mounts up when you’re enjoying yourself !!!.

  15. Avatar


    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    The whole world will not need to be vaccined to make Thailand better off.
    Only people who want to come to Thailand.
    And the ones who want to come they will be able to get vaccine quickly ones available if they pay for it.

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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.

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