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Tourism sector facing massive closures

Jack Burton

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Tourism sector facing massive closures | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s tourism sector, long seen as a lifeline for the nation’s battered economy, is in a meltdown; more than 30% of tourism-related businesses have left the market with many more expected to follow, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand. The president of the TCT says the tourism industry predicts further deterioration after 6 months of the Covid-19 crisis, as many businesses are closing operations or selling off assets, deciding not to wait for an uncertain recovery.

He says the types of businesses most affected by the crisis are tour operators, bus services with small fleets, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels that focused on foreign tour groups, especially the Chinese market. He says the TCT is still collecting the exact number of members fleeing the sector, which he believes amounts to more than 30% in the first half of the year, as Thailand continues to seal its borders to international tourists.

The Tourism Department said 1,111 tour operators in the January-June period surrendered their licenses and asked for the return of their guarantees.

The figure peaked in June as 262 companies permanently quit the market; withdrawals in the second quarter made up 65.4% of all withdrawals in the first half as tourism staggered from lockdown measures.

If travel bubbles aren’t implemented this year, more than 30% of outbound operators will have to permanently shut down, according to the president of the Thai Travel Agents Association.

Currently, most operators have put off making any decisions as they wait for further details on travel bubble agreements with other countries. After the recent cases of an Egyptian airman in Rayong and the daughter of a Sudanese diplomat in Bangkok, these agreements may take even longer, as doctors and academics urge caution.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    When you have academics clamouring for postponement of travel bubbles for 6 months – extending across the peak tourism season – and a government inclined towards extending control, it’s beginning to look like tourism is over until autumn 2021, and that may mean the literal decimation of the industry, with knock on effects for the property market and other sector that benefit from tourism. Exports are also languishing.
    With such high debt levels in the country, the risk for a currency devaluation and a return to the economic situation of 20 years ago, and not just in Thailand – Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines may face a similar crisis.

  2. Avatar

    Richard Renwick

    Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    “Uncertain recovery” The only thing certain is there won’t be a recovery in the next 5 years. Every decision the government decides on makes things worse.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    If you want Thais to understand that, you had better put it in a lot simpler language.
    Such as you stupid morons with your unneeded bans and regulations are making paupers of the population.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
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Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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