Thailand: Tourism to hit all-time low in 2021

  • Thai tourism in 2021 is likely to be at an all-time low as international arrivals may reach just 1 million, while domestic tourism could plunge to 50-60 million trips if the worsening Covid-19 situation demands lockdown last for up to three months, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
  • Despite reopening for vaccinated international tourists via the Phuket sandbox scheme and Samui Plus Model, Thailand may receive just 1 million international tourists in 2021, down 82% compared to 6.7 million in 2020 when the country was able to receive a large number of foreign travellers during the two months prior to the outbreak of the pandemic in Mar 21.
  • TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said even though the agency has maintained its target of 3 million international visitors, there is a likelihood it could be just one third of the goal with revenue of THB85bn, down 74% from 2020.
  • Domestic tourism will also experience regression as the base number of local trips in 2021 is set at 100 million trips. However, due to the severe outbreak which prompted a lockdown and rigid travel restrictions in many key destinations, including the epicentre of pandemic, Bangkok, local trips may be lower than the forecast, particularly with the scenario that Thailand needs three months of lockdown to curb record high Covid-19 infections.
  • According to the TAT’s forecast, total tourism revenue in 2021 may drop by 23% to THB625bn, comprising 14% from the international market via sandbox initiatives and 86% from domestic tourism.

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