InfoQuest, (April 1, 2020) -- Mr. Chairat Triratanatcharaphon, chairman of the Tourism Council Of Thailand (TCT), announced a tourism confidence index of 57 for the first quarter of 2020, lower than 88 for the fourth quarter of 2019, registering a 9-year low.
This decline was largely blamed on the Covid-19 epidemic. Since the outbreak, the number of foreign tourists of Thailand decreased by about 43 percent in February compared with the same period last year. Interviewees didn't think it would look up in the foreseeable future, predicting the number of foreign tourists would continue to drop by more than 80 percent. Before the outbreak, the world economy already started to decelerate, and Covid-19 outbreak made it worsen.
Decrease in both domestic tourists and foreign tourists after the outbreak resulted in the weakening tourism confidence, so it was a different case with the confidence index decline in the fourth quarter 2019 mainly because of a drop in domestic tourists.
Regarding the forecast for the next three months, the survey found that the tourism industry is most concerned about how Covid-19 epidemic situation will change. Most tourism operators (40 percent) anticipated the effects will begin to wane in the third quarter, and the number of foreign tourists will return to normal levels around October 2020. However, this survey was as of March 10, 2020 when the outbreak in Thailand was not serious. In addition, tourism operators also expressed concerns over a potential economic shrinkage at home.
Mr. Chairat forecast that the number of foreign tourists in the first quarter of 2020 will drop to 6.7 million by 37.96 percent compared with the same period of 2019 as the epidemic was worsening at the end of February 2020. The revenue forecast from foreign tourists was 343.130 billion baht, down 38.4 percent compared with the same period of 2019.
If the epidemic can come to a quick end in six months, the number of foreign tourists throughout 2020 is expected to be about 26.59 million, down 33.19 percent over 2019; the revenue from foreign tourists throughout 2020 is expected to be 1.23 trillion baht, down 36.38 percent over 2019.
TCT advises the government to take strict measures to limit travel to control the epidemic, use the rights granted by the emergency law to force people to wear masks when going to public places to reduce the spread, and coordinate public promotion work to enhance understanding and cooperation from all parties. In terms of economic problems, TCT suggests the government to formulate economic measures in advance and accelerate the implementation of all kinds of relief policies to people and enterprises in various industries to ensure that the economy can stage a rapid recovery after the epidemic.
Source: InfoQuest, by Tanawat Suayaem/ Rachada, translated by Xinhua Silk Road
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