Theodore Slate - Jul 20, 2020
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Tourism has been at a standstill for four months and many countries are starting to get nervous. In Thailand, where the industry accounts for 18% of GDP, foreign arrivals could drop by 80% by the end of 2020, driving 60% of tourism businesses to bankruptcy for lack of activity.

Faced with the near-total shutdown of its industry, Thailand fears the worst for its companies, in a country where tourism accounts for nearly 18% of GDP. The Thai Tourism Authority predicted foreign arrivals would nosedive by 80 per cent to 8.2 million tourists, generating only 396 billion baht this year.

There has been no locally transmitted coronavirus infection in Thailand for over 50 days. Two infections detected in foreigners have now led to quarantine for 400 people and to further measures. Nothing changes for tourists who are prohibited from entering until further notice.

Tourism in the coming months or years could be that of "travel bubbles", offering a totally secure route for travelers between different destinations. For this and to allow international travelers to return, the government is working on the concept of "travel bubbles".

"This can take shape between September and December, tourism is expected to generate €550 million, which can support our tourism target of €1 billion earned this year," said Mr Phiphat, the minister of tourism and sports.

As a result, tourists would be allowed to travel to the land of smiles, for 15 days only in some parts of the country.

The open territories would then be the islands: Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan.

Tourists travelling to these areas would then be able to travel freely between these islands.

If the project does not see daylight, the consequences for the Thai economy would be terrible, because tourism would represent in 2020 only 6% of the GDP, a lack of activity which would lead to the bankruptcy of 60% of the companies in the sector.

To save these thousands of threatened jobs, a domestic recovery plan is planned, the first phase of which would be equivalent to €500 million for the "Let's Travel" program.

There should be another phase of the measure on the remaining budget, he said, however, expatriates might not be included as the Thai people are the main target.

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