Thailand: Tourism council predicts 1.4m foreign arrivals

  • Foreign tourist arrivals could tally 3 million in 2021 under the best-case scenario, while the tourism confidence index in 2Q21 plunged to its lowest point as 2 million people lost their jobs, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).
  • “In addition to faster vaccination for 10 pilot tourism areas, the key factors that affect the volume of tourists are the readiness of Bangkok, which is the aviation hub of Thailand, and whether the Chinese government will allow tourists to take overseas trips by Oct 21,” said Vichit Prakobgosol, TCT vice-president.
  • TCT devised four projections for the tourism industry. The best case sees the country welcoming 3 million tourists, generating THB212bn, if the 10 provinces can reopen and Chinese travellers can take outbound trips from Oct 21.
  • If Beijing does not allow overseas travel, the total number decreases to 2 million, generating THB152bn.
  • However, Mr Vichit said 1.4 million foreign arrivals contributing THB107bn is the most likely scenario. He believes China will not extend travel restrictions as it has to test its reopening plan for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
  • TCT also raised concerns over the delayed vaccine rollout in Bangkok, the epicentre of a recent wave, which may cause the whole country to miss the premier’s reopening target of mid-Oct 21.
  • For the worst-case scenario, if Bangkok remains closed and Chinese tourists cannot take outbound trips, total foreign arrivals could number 1 million, generating THB83bn.
  • The council’s recent tourism confidence index saw a massive drop to 11 from 36 in 1Q21, setting a new low by undercutting the 12 recorded during the lockdown in 2Q20.

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