MONDAY, April 15, 2024

Very few foreign arrivals predicted as tourism confidence slumps in Thailand

Very few foreign arrivals predicted as tourism confidence slumps in Thailand

The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) believes the country will generate 16.82 billion baht in revenue from 280,447 foreign tourists this year, marking a 95.81 per cent drop from the 6.7 million visitors last year.

TCT expects 40,000 arrivals in the third quarter and 200,000 in the fourth quarter once Bangkok and nine other provinces open their doors to vaccinated tourists in November.

TCT president Chamnan Srisawat said this number was low due to several factors, such as the Covid-19 situation in Thailand, problems in distributing vaccines in tourism provinces and flooding.

Hence, TCT is calling on the government to make some adjustments, such as:
• Making the application for Certificate of Entry (COE) easier and allowing travel agents to apply on behalf of travellers.
• Creating a standard operating procedure that is consistent nationwide.
• Making Covid-19 tests cheaper. During the 14-day quarantine, foreigners are required to undergo three RT-PCR tests which cost 8,000 baht in total. TCT recommends that the second and third tests be conducted using ATK and the price cut down to 2,500 baht.
• Using the word “sandbox” with all campaigns so publicising is easy.
• Launching big campaigns to advertise the reopening of Thailand.

Chamnan said it will be difficult to meet the target of 280,000 tourists this year if the government does not speed up the vaccination drive and does not ease regulations.

TCT vice-president Marisa Sukosol said this low number of expected arrivals is worrisome. She added that the government’s offer to pay three months’ salary to people working in the tourism sector is not enough as it will take another year or two for the sector to be revived.

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The TCT’s quarterly survey recorded the tourism confidence index in the third quarter at 7 out of 200 (the average is 100), which is the lowest score ever.

The index in the fourth quarter stood at 29, which indicates that the situation is improving. However, the tourism sector is still in a crisis as the score was lower than the low average of 50.

In the third quarter, 51 per cent of the sector reopened, or 7 per cent less than in the second quarter. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of tourism operators have closed temporarily, while 5 per cent have gone out of business.

In addition, 84 per cent of tourism-related establishments have cut their staff by half, while 3.05 million or 71 per cent of 4.3 million workers have either lost their jobs or left the sector. The survey shows that 54 per cent of tourism sites have not been able to generate any income, including entertainment venues, amusement parks, travel agencies, massage parlours and transportation businesses.