More than 1.45 million people lost their jobs in the Thai tourism industry as a result of the pandemic
According to calculations by the Tourism Council of Thailand, 1.45 million jobs in the tourism sector have already been lost in Thailand, of which 400,000 jobs during the first quarter of 2020, according to the Reuters news agency.
Tourism is a major driver of the Thai economy, accounting for 11-12 percent of the gross domestic product. According to the organization, before the pandemic, there were 4.5 million jobs in the tourism sector, out of a workforce of about 38 million people.
Attract 3 million travelers
According to Vichit Prakobgoson, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, a reopening of parts of the country to vaccinated tourists would attract some 3 million travelers this year. From 1 July, for example, there will no longer be a two-week quarantine obligation for vaccinated travelers who want to visit the Thai holiday island of Phuket. In October it will be the turn of Pattaya, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Phang Nga and Krabi.
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, chairman of Phuket’s tourist association, said last week that a successful reopening depends on the international agreement on the vaccine passport and negotiations with other countries for freedom of travel.
The council’s outlook is in line with that of the Thai central bank, but below the expectations of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). That government institution assumes that Thailand will be able to welcome 6.5 million tourists this year.
Prakobgoson expects that the target of the TAT will not be achieved. “Only when Bangkok also opens its doors to the general public will we have a chance to reach the target of 6.5 million tourists,” he said.
Regardless, a revival of tourism will be a welcome gift to the country. Last year there were only 6.7 million foreign tourists. By way of comparison: in 2019 the counter was 40 million. All those tourists together spent 1.91 trillion baht ($ 61.24 billion).
Prakobgoson expects tourists to spend 156 billion baht ($ 5 billion) this year. For Phuket alone, the group expects two million foreign visitors to spend 105 billion baht (3.4 billion dollars) between July and December.