The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) suggested that Thai tourism might hit an all-time low this year, with international arrivals hovering just over a million.
Besides, domestic tourism could fall to 50-60 trips if the Covid-19 situation worsens and the government is forced to extend the lockdown for up to three months, the TAT added.
Phuket’s sandbox scheme and the Samui Plus model are already underway, allowing vaccinated international tourists to enter the country without quarantine.
However, Thailand may only receive one million tourists this year, 82% less compared to figures in 2020 when 6.7 million travelers arrived before the pandemic outbreak.
According to the TAT’s governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, the agency maintained its target of 3 million international tourists.
But the country could see only a third of that goal, generating 85 million baht in revenue, down 74% from 2020.
The base number of local trips for 2021 was set at 100 million.
Nonetheless, the lockdown and severe travel restrictions in Bangkok and other key destinations may make the number lower than anticipated.
“Prior to the pandemic, Thai travelers took 10 million trips per month on average, but the first five months of this year saw only 23.6 million trips being made,” Mr. Yuthasak said.
He added that local travel could drop significantly if the kingdom needs more than a three-month lockdown as the market recovery could take a month to settle after the shutdown.
“It’s too difficult to offset those losses in the final quarter alone,” he went on.
The TAT has predicted that total tourism revenues in 2021 might fall to 625 billion (23%), comprising 14% from the international market through opening programs and 86% from local tourism.
Meanwhile, in the worst-case scenario, the minimum target for the foreign market in 2020 was set at 10 million. Also, 122 million trips are planned for local tourism.
While the world situation remains volatile and the pandemic continues to hit many countries, international revenues should reach 625 billion baht.
Besides, domestic tourism should bring 680 billion baht to Thailand, officials’ estimates say.
In the worst-case scenario, the total revenue next year is projected at 1.3 trillion baht.
At best, the country would get 1.05 trillion baht from 18 million international tourists and 160 million trips with total spending of 882 billion baht on domestic tourism in 2022.
Thai tourism’s recovery during 2021 and 2022 is highly dependent on the pandemic inside and outside the country, Mr. Yuthasak explained.