The best-case scenario in Thailand’s reopening… 3 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, Tourism Council of Thailand says. It’s a far cry from the around 40 million welcomed to Thailand in 2019. But with Phuket set to reopening tomorrow under the “Sandbox” travel model, and other areas posed to reopen later this year, tourism officials guess, that in the best case, 3 million tourists could arrive this year.
The worst-case scenario? 1 million tourist arrivals, tourism officials estimate. And that’s if Bangkok remains closed to foreign arrivals and if Chinese tourists can’t take outbound trips.
With Thailand in its most severe wave of Covid-19, tourism confidence hit its lowest point in the second quarter. TCT vice president Vichit Prakobgosol says vaccination campaigns in the pilot tourism areas, expected to reopen this year, should be accelerated.
“In addition to faster vaccination for 10 pilot tourism areas, the key factors that affect the volume of tourists are the readiness of Bangkok, which is the aviation hub of Thailand, and whether the Chinese government will allow tourists to take overseas trips by October.”
In the best-case scenario, if the 10 targeted areas reopen by October, and Chinese tourists can take outbound trips by then, Thailand could welcome 3 million tourists and generate 212 billion baht by the end of the year. The target areas include Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Buri Ram and Bangkok.
Vichit predicts that, most likely, there will be 1.4 million foreign arrivals this year generating 107 billion baht, saying that China will probably loosen travel restrictions to prepare for reopening for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
If Bangkok remains closed, and if Chinese tourists cannot take outbound trips, then Thailand might only welcome 1 million foreign arrivals, generating 83 billion baht, tourism officials predict. They say the delayed rollout of vaccines in Bangkok could impact the country’s reopening. Bangkok remains the epicentre in the latest wave of infections with tight restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus.
Thailand’s proposed reopening plan…
|JULY||THE ISLAND APPROACH|
|July 1||PHUKET SANDBOX MODEL||Phuket island and province|
|July 15||SAMUI PLUS||Surat Thani Province: Koh Samui-Koh Phangan-Koh Tao sealed routes|
|AUGUST||THE EXTENSION CONCEPT (Linking to Phuket)|
|August||KRABI EVEN MORE AMAZING||Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, Ko Railay|
|August||PHANG NGA PROMPT||Phang Nga, Khao Lak, Ko Yao|
|SEPTEMBER||THE SEALED APPROACH (Specific areas and routes)|
|September||CHARMING CHIANG MAI||Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Tang and Doi Tao Districts|
|September||CHON BURI: NEO PATTAYA||Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Sattahip District|
|September||BURI RAM||Buri Ram – Mueang District and the Chang Arena|
|OCTOBER||THE FULL REOPENING|
|October||BANGKOK||Bangkok metropolitan area|
|October||HUA HIN||Cha-am and Hua Hin|
|October||(OTHER DESTINATIONS)||Other locations that have 70% vaccination and are prepared to reopen|
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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