Tourism businesses in Thailand are struggling to survive and barriers to increasing the number of foreign visitors to the kingdom must be removed immediately. That’s the view of Chamnan Srisawat from the Tourism Council of Thailand, who says the Omicron variant, coupled with Russia’s war on Ukraine, has dealt a double blow to the sector.
“Tourism operators are still struggling to maintain business as the number of tourists has yet to fully rebound due to the current travel rules. This obstacle needs to be removed before more operators collapse.”
The Bangkok Post reports on the findings of a recent TCT poll that surveyed 200 overseas travellers in the period from February 20 to March 10. Of those questioned, 71% agreed the process around the PCR test on arrival is cumbersome.
Chamnan says if Thailand’s tourism industry is to survive, it needs to retain 40% of its 2019 level of business this year. That’s 1.2 trillion baht in revenue, from 16 million tourists and 75 million domestic trips. He adds that in order to achieve this, the onerous Thailand Pass registration process and PCR testing on arrival needs to go as soon as possible.
According to the Bangkok Post report, TCT’s tourism confidence index during the first quarter of 2022 stood at 44, which was a big improvement from 36 during the same period in 2021. However, it’s still down from 47 during the last quarter of 2021. Any reading below 100 indicates weak tourism confidence among those in the sector.
740 tourism operators participated in the survey and its findings show that confidence is lowest among nightlife operators, who have been the most severely affected by Covid restrictions. The confidence level among those businesses is at 20, down from 41 during the same period in 2021.
According to Chamnan, 78% of tourism operators are struggling to increase their revenue, with 45% reporting a decrease and 33% only just managing to maintain the same level of income as during the last quarter of 2021. Entertainment venues were the worst affected, with around 44% planning to lay off workers in the second quarter of this year. They were followed by spa businesses, massage parlours, and tour operators.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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