If borders still closed by end of year, 60% hospitality businesses predicted to close

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If borders still closed by end of year, 60% hospitality businesses predicted to close

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Closed borders pose tourism risk

60% of hospitality firms face closure

by Dusida Worrachaddejchai

If the country does not let foreign tourists in by the end of the year, some 60% of hospitality enterprises are at risk of going out of business, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

"People will be safe from the virus as borders remain closed, but wounds from the economic fallout might be deeper and the government will face more difficulty in helping workers who lost their jobs," said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicted international arrivals will nosedive by 80% to 8.2 million, generating only 396 billion baht this year.

He said the tourism industry will contribute only 6-7% of GDP this year, compared with 18% in 2019.

"If the travel bubble scheme can take shape during September until December, tourism is expected to generate 200 billion baht, which can support our tourism goal of 1.23 trillion earned this year," said Mr Phiphat.

Domestic tourism may generate 700 billion baht this year with the support of government stimulus packages scheduled to kick off tomorrow.

"In my opinion, we have to open some parts of the country to mitigate the impact from the virus and revive the economy," he said.

The ministry plans to introduce the first phase of designated areas for tourists to spend at least 14 days in a travel bubble on islands: Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. Tourists going to those areas can travel freely between those islands.

He said Phuket has the potential to carry out 1,000 swab tests per day, but the Public Health Ministry can ask for more health personnel from other provinces to help with the lab tests.

If 200,000 foreign tourists spend 5,000 baht per person per day in Phuket during the last four months, it could generate at least 14 billion baht for the local economy, said Mr Phiphat.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand has discussed with the Tourism and Sports Ministry its readiness to bring tourists to Thailand once the travel restrictions are lifted.

Mr Phiphat said eight provinces have confirmed with the ministry their readiness to reopen for international leisure tourists, including Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Songkhla.

He said Koh Chang in Trat and Koh Samet in Rayong might be included in the next phase.

The ministry also plans to propose a travel scheme between Hat Yai and three states in Malaysia that have had no new local cases for more than 70 days: Penang, Perlis and Kedah.

"We received an inquiry from Penang state, asking why they're not included in the travel bubbles negotiation despite being safe from the virus," said Mr Phiphat.

Tourists travelling via the travel bubbles scheme must arrive by air, but those from low-risk states in Malaysia might be allowed to travel by land via Songkhla and Satun.

For domestic market stimulus, the ministry expects only half of the 18-billion-baht budget for the "Let's Travel" scheme will be used. There should be another phase of the measure from the remaining budget, he said, however, expats might not be included as Thais are the main focus.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/19 ... urism-risk

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Re: If borders still closed by end of year, 60% hospitality businesses predicted to close

Post by Gaybutton »

While I am truly sorry that so many tourism businesses are closing down, if it is mostly the businesses that operate the tour buses, especially the many pollution belching tour buses that seem as if they haven't seen the inside of a maintenance garage since the day the were manufactured, it would be hard to convince me that I ought to be shedding tears for them.
_____________________________________________________

Tourism Council of Thailand warns of operators fleeing sector

by Narumon Kasemsuk and Dusida Worrachaddejchai

22 Jul 2020

Tourism-related businesses are at a tipping point after more than 30% of them have exited the market, with many set to follow, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of the TCT, said the tourism industry predicts a further deterioration after six months of the coronavirus crisis, as many related businesses are terminating their operations or selling off assets, choosing not to wait for an uncertain recovery.

He said the main types of businesses affected by the crisis are tour operators, bus services with a small vehicle fleet, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels that used to focus on foreign tour groups, especially the Chinese market.

Mr Chairat said the TCT is in the process of collecting the exact number of members fleeing the sector, which he believes should amount to more than 30% in the first half of the year, as Thailand continues to seal the borders to international tourists.

The Tourism Department said 1,111 tour operators in the January-June period gave up their licences and asked for their guarantees back.

The figure hit a crescendo in June as 262 companies permanently quit the market, while withdrawals in the second quarter made up 65.4% of all withdrawals in the first half as tourism reeled from lockdown measures.

If travel bubbles cannot be implemented this year, more than 30% of outbound operators will have to permanently shut down their business, said Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Thai Travel Agents Association.

At present, most operators have staved off making any decision as they are waiting for further details on travel bubble agreements with other countries. After the infections of an Egyptian airman in Rayong and the daughter of a Sudanese diplomat were detected, these agreements may take even longer to come about.

"The domestic market has become a priority market for tour operators who want to maintain business while waiting for borders to reopen," Mr Thanapol said.

The association also encourages members to join the government's Moral Support campaign while providing packages to serve domestic meetings and seminars.

Mr Thanapol said Thai outbound tourists who prefer standardised services and are concerned about health issues are another potential market.

The outbreak could be an opportunity to increase the average number of individual local trips from 3.5 trips a year to six trips by next year.

Story and graphic: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/19 ... ing-sector

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Re: If borders still closed by end of year, 60% hospitality businesses predicted to close

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Thailand shelves ‘travel bubble’ plan amid virus spike

by Chayut Setboonsarng

August 7, 2020

BANGKOK: Thailand has delayed plans for a “travel bubble” agreement with select countries as new daily coronavirus cases rise in parts of Asia, putting pressure on its vital tourism industry and complicating efforts to revive its battered economy.

Thailand first proposed the idea in June to allow movement between select countries that have low infection numbers, without the need for travelers to undergo quarantine.

But that has been shelved, officials said, amid second and third waves in East Asian countries that previously had their outbreaks under control.

“We are delaying discussion of travel bubble arrangements for now given the outbreak situation in other countries,” Thailand’s coronavirus taskforce spokesman, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, told Reuters.

Despite more than two months without confirmed local transmission and recording only 3,300 cases, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is facing its worst crisis in several decades.

Foreign arrivals plunged 66 percent in the first six months of the year, to 6.69 million. The industry has warned that at least 1.6 trillion baht ($51.5 billion) of revenue could be wiped from the Thai economy this year.

By comparison, Thailand had a record 39.8 million tourists in all of 2019, spending 1.93 trillion baht.

“Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were among those considered (for a travel bubble) because those areas had a low number of cases, but now they were in double-digits so discussions were put on hold,” Taweesin said, referring to new daily infections.

Reviving talks would depend on the situation in each country, which the taskforce was assessing daily, he said, adding that was a widely accepted industry view.

The island of Phuket has instead proposed receiving direct flights from those countries, with tourists and business executives doing two-week quarantines in their hotels before going out.

“We are asking for travel, charter flights, into Phuket,” Phuket Tourist Association President Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, told Reuters.

Although demand for long stays would be lower, it would be a start, with occupancy of 40 percent to 50 percent sufficient for hotels to survive and avert job losses, Bhummikitti added.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKCN2520QM

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