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Minister says lack of foreign visitors will have knock-on effect for domestic tourism




The Tourism Minister says Thailand can expect a significant drop in domestic tourism unless international tourism is revived. According to a Bangkok Post report, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says local tourism figures are 40% of what they were in 2019, and are expected to drop further once the domestic travel stimulus scheme ends at the end of the year. The scheme has gone through multiple extensions since its introduction in July, with recent calls to extend it to December 2021.

Phiphat says a tough year lies ahead and that Thailand’s recovery will be more challenging than after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, due to the broader economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. He adds that the return of foreign tourists is essential to economic recovery and says that, while the Special Tourist Visa is a start, it is not enough.

“We have a precarious year for domestic tourism waiting for us in 2021, with the number of trips and receipts possibly going down to 15% of 2019. We shouldn’t expect big things from the STV, but it can prepare local communities for a return of international arrivals and pave the way for further relaxation of restrictions in the next phase.”

The minister says that during trips to 5 or 6 provinces, local business operators told him they fear for their survival if the current situation continues. The Tourism Ministry has agreed a recovery fund worth 50 -100 billion baht in order to help, which has been submitted to the Finance Ministry for approval.

“At least 50% of tourism-related businesses will permanently close if they cannot receive any effective measures from the government until the middle of next year. But we cannot let them disappear, because Thailand will be short on businesses that can accommodate tourists when things hopefully pick up.”

The government had been considering reducing quarantine from 14 days to 10, for arrivals from “low-risk” countries, but that proposal has now been shelved. Last week, it was reported that officials are planning talks with China regarding the formation of a no-quarantine travel bubble between both countries. Phiphat says it’s hoped the scheme can be put in place in time for Chinese New Year in February.

“Now, we need every segment of the tourism industry to help bring about a recovery. But this will depend on how each country lets their citizens easily fly back and forth.”

It’s understood talks are also planned with officials in Japan, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, although the latter 2 have strict restrictions on overseas travel at this time. The South Korean embassy says golfers will be permitted to travel to Thailand for training, provided they quarantine. The Thai government is considering a proposal to use golf courses with hotel accommodation as alternative local state quarantine facilities.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Of course it will.
    When an entertainment is duel priced, the entertainment relies of foreigners prices to make money.
    The money from Thais is just a little extra.
    If there are no foreigners, the entertainment closes, and Thais are denied the entertainment.
    It is foreigners that are subsidising the entertainment that the Thais use at a cheap price.
    In Bang San, a water park was charging foreigners more. The foreigners stopped going and the water park closed.

    • Issan John

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      In Pattaya, very probably. In the rest of Thailand, even Phuket outside the farang zones, dream on.

    • David

      Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 3:07 am

      Yes you are right. Thai people’s goes to their own selective pubs and bars, if you just talking about Bangkok, you can see all over Sukhumvit Soi Nana (soi 1) to Bangna ( upper sukhumvit), Silom area ( patpong), Kaosan Road area and other spotted in all over Bangkok- at least 90% pubs, clubs and bars are depends on foreign customers.
      We can see the present situation (without foreigners), expats (foreign) lives in here are now keeps alive some venues, that’s about 3 to 4% likely.

      Keeping zero local infection record is useless hence economy is going shrinking.
      Thailand has a strong medical facilities, so providing covid treatment will be satisfactorily alright.

      Time and Tide wait for none.
      Without tourists the season will also go on.
      But The right time will come.
      The infrastructure will gone.

    • J West

      Monday, November 16, 2020 at 5:01 pm


      “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”.

  2. murika

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    it’s all part of the plan, the 1% richest are now buying hotels and bars for 30% of it’s value, and they don’t mind to wait a bit more to reopen the country and win the jackpot, Comment from foreigners are saying that thai are stupid to destroy their tourist industry, while they had order from the rich to make it happened

  3. Khun plastic

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Very true, fire sales are cheap and cash is king,since when did the rich any place give a stuff about the poor.

  4. Ray W.

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    This is a such an abortion. Every projection was clear that the boarders needed to be open in some meaningful capacity in June to have any chance of preventing a deep decline that will take the better part of a decade to recover from. All we had to do was manage the risk like competent leaders do. But just wait someone will be quick to point out public opinion polls, with flawed methodology, that Thais want to burn the economy to absolute and utter cinders because “COVID bad, COVID very bad, and also I read on Facebook COVID was bad, um, um, also science and if you want to open the boarders you hate life and want people to die, and you think the Earths flat.” Its like a bunch or marginally programmed chat bots have been set loose to ensure economic recovery would be played at the hardest difficult.

    • School hurts

      Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 11:56 pm

      Do you at all understand what you have written, mate? Do you know who BOARDERS are? Apparently not. Well, they are NOT borders, if that`s what you were trying to convey. You have heard of boarding schools, though, haven`t you? There you`ll find boarders.

    • David Barker

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 1:41 am

      They won’t even let in retirees or people who own homes.
      People won’t forget

      • ray

        Friday, November 13, 2020 at 4:19 pm

        In three years I will have my pension and until recently it seemed a good idea to retire in LOS. I have been to the country many times, even worked here for half a year. Since a couple of months I have been reading a lot of the contributions to this site. This gave me another perspective. I certainly won’t buy a property and perhaps even look for another country to retire.

        • Issan John

          Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8:59 pm

          If you’re basing your plans for the future on what those commenting here write, then maybe you need to read a bit more carefully.

          Most making the adverse comments don’t live here, aren’t here now, and left when their money ran out because they came here when the baht was low and bank interest rates high and they thought that’d last forever.

          Sour grapes, nothing more.

      • Issan John

        Friday, November 13, 2020 at 8:49 pm

        Actually, they DO let in retirees as long as they have family here, but like most countries in a similar position (AFAIK all) Thailand doesn’t let foreigners in as yet just because they own a flat here or claim to have a Thai girlfriend.

  5. Mike Frenchie

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Foreigners were bringing 2000 billions the per year and they come with schemes worth 5-10% of what is needed. Banks are in deep troubles if companies such as Thai airways close forever (Thai alone is 300 billion thb of debts) or hotel groups like the ones I know very well in Pattaya. No real tourism till end of 2021 or maybe 2022… Someone must chip to keep the hotels alive (what we do in Europe).

  6. luca

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    those said by the minister seem wise words, I have often read that tourism for Thailand is worth 10/15% of its GDP but I think it is worth much more because it is the oil that turns the gears, to this is added the recession global affliction that also affects other sectors of the economy.
    Maybe next summer it will be possible to reopen tourism thanks to the vaccine but what will tourists find after the massacre of economic activities? in Thailand most of the wealth is in the hands of a few, for the vast majority of its citizens even more difficult times are coming

  7. Ben

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    It’s like a war has hit the country and when it does your only option is to survive to fight another day until the war is over and it’ll eventually end sometime in 2021. The government has the ability to provide stimulus to enable the survival of many of the businesses but some of the weaker (zombie) businesses will die.

    I’m not an economist but my observation is the baht is only getting stronger which will not help their economy come back as fast in 2021. Many countries are printing money to help their economies and weakening their currency which will help their exports in 2021. Thailand doesn’t appear to doing enough of that or using its significant foreign currency reserves to help its economy.

    The result will be the rich Thais coming in and buying businesses for 10 cents on the dollar. Those with cash will wait until the patient is about to expire and swoop in. The rich will get richer.

  8. Hasse

    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Every one talk about corona. But here in Sweden we talk about the government that treat the people like garbage. At my work we are around 10 people with a Thai wife and nobody go back to Thailand before the military dictate stops.
    The PM need to stand down

    • J West

      Monday, November 16, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      Tell those bossy outspoken Swedish women I’m on the way!!! I love a woman who can talk back.

  9. west Tiger

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Stating the obvious but the longer Thailand leave it to open up to Tourism from the West the longer it will take to recover, as the Tourist from the West are the big spenders when it come to tourism to Thailand

  10. Dave

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 3:40 am

    I have observed the rise of the bath today after the news of the discovery of an effective vaccine for covid, but: Have Thai economists thought about when it will be used globally for the tourism sector in Thailand to recover ??? They are speculating with the real value of their economy to get richer a few, triggering the price of their currency (bath), only achieving that the nominal value exceeds the real value so much that inflation will shoot up in the country, added to the enormous crisis that your society suffers with skyrocketing unemployment, it will bring an economic crisis for the middle and lower class with irreparable damage in many years, get smart, lower your currency and do not speculate with it anymore or you will ruin the country.

    • Issan John

      Friday, November 13, 2020 at 9:03 pm

      It’s a free floating currency, and has been for quite a while.

  11. AI

    Friday, November 13, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    The people with cash will buy up as much business as they can owned by those who’re closed and going down. It’s as simple as that. Wiping out the lower and most of the middle class, as it is designed to.
    And yet nobody around here or even in govt., has yet to prove the con-vid actually exists!
    If these parasites get their way, they will get as much as they possibly can before they are finished.
    This was all planned way before it happened.
    Start asking the relevant questions and see the so called “leaders” ignore the question or wander off!
    I do genuinely feel sorry for those out there (and their families) in Thailand and elsewhere, who will be hit by all of this fake plandemic.

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