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Thai tourism sector “seriously wounded” by pandemic

Jack Burton



PHOTO: A deserted beach on Koh Samui - The Guardian

It goes without saying that Thailand’s tourist industry has been decimated by the impact of lockdown measures and border closures, not only in Thailand but around the world.

But now a deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says that the kingdom’s tourism sector is “seriously wounded” from the Covid-19 pandemic. Thapanee Kiatphaibool said Thailand won’t get anywhere near its target of 41.8 million tourists this year (probably the understatement of the year). In fact, she said it will would be lucky to get 7 million visitors, and more than 6 million of those have already come and gone in the first 3 months, before the pandemic and its economic impact took hold during the nationwide lockdown.

She expressed some optimism that June and July would see a rise in domestic tourism. Indeed, the domestic market could be “the saviour for tourism operators” she told the “Restart Thailand” seminar.

There were already plenty of buzzwords flying around at the seminar when Thapanee threw out her own “Five Rs”. These are the need to “Rebuild, Rebalance, Refresh, Reboot and Rebound” in the tourism sector. Under “rebound” she mentioned plans for places like Phuket to introduce the “Safe and Sealed” model in which tourists are restricted to certain areas during their mandatory quarantine period.

She said that post-Covid tourism will be all about “trust” and assuring health, and that Safety and Health Administration certification of businesses is an important part of that. The former minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat also made an appearance, stressing the need to spur the sector using domestic tourism.

He said that a significant group of the population that has suffered greatly are young people who left their villages to work in cities lost their jobs due to the crisis. He told the seminar the focus on this group is important to Thailand’s economic recovery.

SOURCES: thaivisa | The Bangkok Insight


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  1. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    According to recent articles, I don’t think those domestic numbers cor Jun and Jul were met.

  2. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 4:06 am

    Surely the 5 Rs are:
    Repossession, Redundancy, Repatriation, Recidivism, and Reality check?

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    I will add two Rs to their list of five Rs.
    Repulse visitors, and reject expats.

  4. Avatar

    Mark D Kuhn

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    People without jobs are not going on tour anywhere!!!
    And long term tourists are not coming to sit in a hotel for two weeks.
    You are wreaking your future for fear of a virus .More people die from cars in Thailand but you don’t stop people from driving!

  5. Avatar

    Tricky Dicky

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    What is “post covid” exactly? It isn’t going anywhere and we may never have a vaccine.

  6. Avatar


    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Why is an article posted towards the end of August writing about expectations of June and July? Shouldn’t it be addressing the reality of what happened? This article seems like it was, at least partially, written in May.

  7. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Talk about quoting the obvious, and even now, you are still doing too little too late to attract any real tourism.

    There will always be risk, deal with it.

  8. Avatar

    situs idn judi poker online

    Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 12:35 am

    Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave
    it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

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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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