Govt says tourism industry may not recover until 2026

Govt says tourism industry may not recover until 2026

FILE PHOTO: An empty hotel and beach which have opened for visitors is seen in Karon, Phuket Island, March 31, 2021. (Reuters)
FILE PHOTO: An empty hotel and beach which have opened for visitors is seen in Karon, Phuket Island, March 31, 2021. (Reuters)

It could take another five years before tourism revives fully in Thailand -- an ominous sign for one of the most tourism-dependent economies in the world.

The sector, which contributed about one-fifth of the economy before the pandemic, isn’t expected to return to normal until 2026, the National Economic and Social Development Council said Monday, citing the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The delayed return -- which some analysts had expected within two years -- will impact more than seven million workers, some of whom may need to find jobs in other fields, the council said.

The country welcomed nearly 40 million visitors in 2019 -- the last year before the pandemic -- earning 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. After closing its borders to most foreign visitors in March 2020, the government is trying to gradually reopen some destinations to vaccinated visitors with the economy struggling to gain traction.

The economy has contracted for five straight quarters, a trend that’s likely to continue in the April-June period as the country battles its worst Covid-19 outbreak yet.

The resort island of Phuket is set to be the first to reopen in July, followed by 10 other destinations in October. But the government only expects 500,000 visitors this year, a small fraction of the 6.7 million who came in 2020 -- almost all in the first three months of the year.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (57)

Speedboat catches fire, sinks off Samui, no-one hurt

SURAT THANI: A speedboat moored off a boat pier on Ko Samui island caught fire and sank late on Saturday night. Nobody was hurt.

11:03

Paetongtarn, Pheu Thai lead opinion poll in Korat

Paetongtarn "Ung-Ing" Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party is the most popular candidate for the post of prime minister in Nakhon Ratchasima, according to the result of a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

10:20

Operators ask govt for Samui cruise terminal

Surat Thani: The government is being urged to speed up the development of infrastructure for cruises with almost 100 cruise ships scheduled to visit Koh Samui during 2023-2025.

09:09