Revenue projected to fall, new markets targeted
The tourism minister has projected revenue from tourism will fall 300 billion baht short of the target this year and the situation could worsen if authorities do not control the spread of the coronavirus by March.
In a cabinet meeting today, the ministry will ask for the approval of 500 million baht from the central budget to use for stimulus, which includes marketing campaigns to cater to markets that still have travel demand.
"An urgent stimulus plan should be implemented as soon as possible to avoid the worst scenario for the tourism industry," said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
Domestic tourists, Indians and CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) travellers are among the main targets Thailand must pursue over the next three months as the ministry found some of those markets previously planned to go to China and will need to find alternative routes, said Mr Phipat.
Before the outbreak, the ministry set a revenue target for this year at 3.16 trillion baht.
The goal is a long way off as figures from Jan 24-Feb 1 showed Chinese travellers decreased by 60.6% from the same period last year to 232,000 persons.
"Thai tourism hasn't hit rock bottom yet, but continues to nosedive. We expect a full recovery by the beginning of July if the Chinese government can control the outbreak by March and lift all travel bans," he said.
Mr Phiphat said because Thailand has the second most infections outside China, if the government doesn't have any plans, the country risks losing other markets.
"Our market will be slower for five months at least," he said.
Supawan Tanomkieatipume, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said hotels are preparing to cooperate with the government to offer special room promotions to local and international guests during the stimulus period.
"Lowering room rates is better than leaving rooms empty," she said.
In a press conference yesterday, Mr Phiphat also apologised to the residents in Hua Mak community that were disturbed by the 3am fireworks of Amazing Thailand Marathon in Bangkok.