Thailand looks for a balance between Covid and the economy

The lack of international tourists is crippling Thailand's economy.

By Bloomberg News, August 24 2020
Thailand looks for a balance between Covid and the economy

Thailand is cautiously looking at plans to reopen its borders as it struggles to survive an extended period without international visitors, who account for about two-thirds of the country’s tourism income.

"The virus won’t go away soon and we have to think about the economy. But we can’t just reopen the borders. We have to be careful,” Transport Minister Saksiam Chidchob said in an interview. “Thailand has a limited budget so we have to make sure we can control the disease well."

Thailand may allow some foreign visitors into the country as early as October. Tourists from countries with limited infections will probably be required to wear wristbands with GPS tracking systems and will need to be quarantined in a hotel for the first 14 days, Saksiam said. The plan is likely to be tested in Phuket province, he said.

Thailand’s borders have been closed to most visitors since late March. While there have been several proposals for international travel arrangements, the government keeps adjusting plans to reopen for tourism, which makes up 20% of the economy.

The government has been trying to promote domestic tourism with a campaign to foot 40% of travelers’ hotel bills, but local spending alone can’t compensate for a loss of foreign receipts.

Thailand faces one of the worst outlooks among emerging countries in Asia as the pandemic batters its manufacturing sector and upends international travel, the two pillars of its economy. The Finance Ministry predicts gross domestic product will shrink by 8.5% this year, its worst contraction on record.

While the pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy, Thailand has managed to control the spread of coronavirus, with no locally transmitted cases reported in almost three months. In total, it has had 3,390 cases and 58 deaths.

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 113

This is going to be the same decision faced by so many countries around Asia where tourism and also in the case of Singapore for example business, is absolutely vital to the economy.  I'd like to see some corridors open between some of these countries and selected Australian states, with Covid testing in place but no quarantine unless it's just for the 24 hours until the test result arrives.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 9

I landed in Bangkok 2nd August on a repatriation flight from Sydney and did my 15 nights quarantine in Bangkok. My wife and I spent a further 3 nights in Bangkok before returning home to Chiang Rai. Some hotels in Bangkok have just shut their doors completely. We stayed at the Westin grande Sukhumvit, and they are only using 2 floors for guests. The Sheraton across the road is closed. Thailand, like many countries that rely heavily on tourism are struggling. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 46

People are also a little weary of booking flights with Thai Airways and also Bangkok Airways, their COVID19 policies have been shocking,  no refunds, even on cancelled flights, this will make people think twice before booking with them again which may affect the return of confidence to book a trip to Thailand. Even Jetstar is offering full refunds on cancelled flights to Phuket. Thai Airways is in financial trouble, so the Thai Government should step in like other countries, provide refunds and build confidence again.  

Couldn't happen quick enough that the Thai economy got a massive wake up call with the way Thailand has treated western visitors and expats with their dual pricing policy, their various reporting requirements, the convoluted and corrupt visa rules, the blatant racism faced,( speaking from 20 plus years experience), and the stupid exchange rates. Wonderful to visit but living for any length of time and you get the notion very quickly that you are not welcome. This is what happens when you put all your Chinese eggs in one basket and ignore all solid long term travelers and others who perhaps don't spend as much in 1 week but spend consistently over a long and consistent period


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