60 per cent of businesses in Thailand’s tourism industry at risk of closing if Thailand does not allow foreign tourists in by end of 2020
Some 60 per cent of businesses in Thailand’s tourism industry are at risk of shuttering if the country does not allow foreign tourists in by the end of the year.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry said if the situation did not improve, the impact from the economic fallout would be deep and the government would face more difficulty in helping workers who might lose their jobs.
Its minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said the Tourism Authority predicted foreign arrivals would nosedive by 80 per cent to 8.2 million tourists, generating only 396 billion baht this year.
He said the tourism industry would contribute only six to seven per cent of the gross domestic product this year, compared with 18 per cent last year.
“If the travel bubble scheme can take shape from September to December, tourism can generate 200 billion baht, which will support our tourism goal of 1.23 trillion for the year,” he said.
Domestic tourism might generate 700 billion baht this year with the support of government stimulus packages, he said.
“We have to open some parts of the country to mitigate the impact of the virus and revive the economy.”
The ministry planned to introduce the first phase of designated tourist areas in Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan.
Tourists going to those areas could travel freely between those islands, he added.
Phiphat said eight provinces had confirmed with the ministry their readiness to reopen for international leisure tourists, including Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Songkhla.
He said Koh Chang in Trat and Koh Samet in Rayong might be included in the next phase.
The ministry also planned to propose a travel scheme between Hat Yai and three states in Malaysia that had no new local cases for more than 70 days, which are Penang, Perlis and Kedah.
“We received an inquiry from Penang state, asking why they’re not included in the travel bubble negotiations despite being safe from the virus,” said Phiphat.
Tourists travelling via the travel bubble scheme must arrive by air, but those from low-risk states in Malaysia might be allowed to travel by land via Songkhla and Satun.
For the domestic market stimulus, the ministry expected only half of the 18 billion baht budget for the “Let’s Travel” scheme would be used.