Tourist arrivals plummet 44.3% in February due to coronavirus

Tourist arrivals plummet 44.3% in February due to coronavirus

An aerial photo shows unused tourist buses parked on a lot near Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Sunday. (AFP)
An aerial photo shows unused tourist buses parked on a lot near Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Sunday. (AFP)

The number of tourist arrivals in Thailand fell 44.3% in February from a year earlier, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Monday.

Visitors from China, Thailand's biggest source of tourists, tumbled 85.3%, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told a meeting of tourism operators.

In the worst-case scenario, the number of foreign tourists may fall to 30 million this year from last year's 39.8 million, with spending down 22%, "if the virus situation bottoms in May," he said.

Just last week, Mr Yuthasak said tourist numbers might drop by 6 million this year.

Tourism is crucial to Thailand as spending by foreign visitors amounted to 1.93 trillion baht last year, or 11% of gross domestic product (GDP).

The government said last week it will seek cabinet approval on Tuesday for a $3.2 billion stimulus package to ease the virus impact.

But Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday there would be no such cash handouts.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy may grow less than 1% this year, Thanavath Phonvichai, dean and economics professor of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, told reporters on Monday.

Growth in 2019 was 2.4%, the lowest in 5 years.

The central bank will closely monitor global oil prices and financial market developments and discuss them at its monetary policy review on March 25, Assistant Governor Chantavarn Sucharitakul said in a text message to reporters.

The central bank last month cut its key rate by a quarter point to a record low 1.0%. Most economists expect further easing this month. 


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (14)

Malaysia urges Asean states to engage Myanmar junta's rivals

Malaysia wants a clear endgame in Myanmar' faltering peace process and is advocating direct engagement by Asean states with the junta's opponents, and bringing other countries into the fold, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

10 Aug 2022

Over 1m tonnes of goods transported on China-Laos Railway

KUNMING: The total volume of imported and exported goods transported via the China-Laos Railway has reached 1.02 million tonnes since the railway's opening eight months ago, with total worth of about 9.14 billion yuan (48 billion baht).

10 Aug 2022

Temporary stay

PM Prayut confirms the ousted president of Sri Lanka will stay in Thailand on humanitarian grounds as he looks for asylum in a third country.

10 Aug 2022