Tourism Council of Thailand says Q1 2021 tourism confidence index drops to 53
It is estimated that 6.69 million foreign travellers visited Thailand in 2020, an 83% decrease from 2019. The visitors generated revenue of around 300 billion baht, an 80% decrease from the previous year.
The tourism confidence index for the first quarter of 2021 is forecast to be 53, compared to 62 in Q4 2020, which is lower than the average, as many businesses are worried about the latest COVID-19 outbreak, which may take at least two months to bring under control.
The president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Chamnan Srisawad, explained that the new outbreak has affected 4 million people working in the sector. On top of the 1.04 million people who lost their jobs last year, it is estimated that another two million people will be put out of work due to the latest outbreak.
He also said that, during the last quarter of 2020, 10% of tourism-related businesses had to close temporarily, while 3% had to be wound up. 85% of those still open experienced a decrease in the number of customers and 50% have had to reduce the number of staff.
Vice-president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Marisa Sukosol Noonpakdee, suggested relief measures for tourism operators, such as adjusting the low-interest loan mechanism to make funding more accessible. It is expected, however, that the tourism industry will recover in the next two years.
Meanwhile, another vice-president of the council, Sutthipong Pueanpipob, said that, if Thailand can control the latest COVID-19 outbreak, the government should use more measures to boost domestic tourism, such as the Rao Tiaw Duay Kan (We Travel Together) scheme, and encourage more MICE tourism.
He also advised the government to start planning now, so that businesses can develop their tourism products to attract foreign guests.