The coronavirus crisis is likely to cost Thailand at least 50 billion baht in lost tourism income associated with China's blanket ban on tourists leaving its affected cities, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand.
The estimated losses are based on the average spending of 50,000 baht per Chinese tourist visiting Thailand, council chairman Chairat Trairatttancharatphon said.
If the virus outbreak persists longer than expected, its impact on Thailand's tourism industry will be more substantial, he said.
Small and medium-sized tourism businesses would be more severely affected by the virus outbreak because they have less capital than large tourism business operators, he said.
The council is pinning its hope on the government which has been asked to come up with measures to help ease the impact of the virus on tourism, he said.
The council joined health authorities in warning locals and tourists at popular tourist attractions -- including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya and Koh Samui -- about the importance of protecting themselves from contracting the virus by wearing a face mask, avoiding unnecessary visits to crowded public areas, and washing their hands frequently.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, along with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), has called a meeting with tourism businesses on Monday to discuss their situation, Mr Chairat said.
Tour guide agencies, airlines, and hoteliers will be at the meeting, he said.
The TAT plans also plans another meeting tomorrow with key tourism business operators, especially the Association of Thai Travel Agents, to discuss how to adapt to the tourism situation in terms of tourism marketing, said Thanet Phetsuwan, a deputy director for communication and marketing of the TAT.
Phuket FantaSea Plc, the operator of a well-known a cultural theme park in Phuket, remained optimistic the virus situation will soon be brought under control.
The company was adjusting itself on a day-by-day basis, said chief executive officer Kittikorn Kewkacha.
The tourism situation in Phuket was even better this year than last year, he said.