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Tourism goals dashed after third COVID surge

Tourism goals dashed after third COVID surge

BANGKOK: The government has halved its expected number of international visitors to 3-4 million this year and slashed its tourism revenue forecast.

COVID-19Coronavirustourismeconomics
By Bangkok Post

Sunday 25 April 2021, 12:45PM


Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. Photo: NNT

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. Photo: NNT

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said this month’s third outbreak of COVID-19 had battered tourism sentiment just as it was showing signs of rebounding after the second virus surge subsided, reports the Bangkok Post.

Total tourism revenue for 2021 was being revised down from B1.218 trillion to B850 billion, the minister said.

Mr Phiphat pointed to Friday’s new daily record of 2,070 infections and the great uncertainty over how the pandemic would pan out.

All things combined, he said, any hope of the country achieving its previous goal of attracting 6.5mn foreign tourists this year had been shattered.

His ministry had now revised down its tourism revenue target from B348bn to B300bn, with the other B550bn baht coming from the domestic market, down from its earlier forecast of B870bn.

The government is now expecting international arrivals in 2021 to be just 3-4mn, a little over half its previous forecast of 6.5mn.

Meanwhile, local tourists are tipped to take about 100-120mn trips this year, down from 160mn in the previous forecast, after the pandemic destroying tourism sentiment during the Songkran holidays.

However, authorities will continue with their plan to bring in vaccinated international visitors via a pilot project called Phuket Sandbox in July.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry will help distribute COVID-19 vaccines to cover 70% of Phuket’s residents to prepare for international tourists.

The government is also gearing up to procure more vaccines to cover those in need.

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