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Thailand tourist arrivals in February fall 44.3% due to coronavirus


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Thailand tourist arrivals in February fall 44.3% due to coronavirus

By Kitiphong Thaichareon

 

2020-03-09T064851Z_1_LYNXMPEG280G2_RTROPTP_4_CHINA-HEALTH-THAILAND-TOURISM.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Chinese tourists pose for a picture inside the Grand Palace in Bangkok May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - 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, 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 ($61.15 billion) 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 Prayuth Chan-ocha 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 <THCBIR=ECI> by a quarter point to a record low 1.0%. Most economists expect further easing this month.

 

(Additioanl reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-03-09
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"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%,".

 

Just read that a few times and let it sink in, 30 million tourists is a worst case scenario, does 30 million tourists sound like Armageddon to you! 30 million is 2017 levels.

 

https://tradingeconomics.com/thailand/tourist-arrivals

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Not good timing when you consider this is on top of the terrible farming season (due to drought) and poor exports (partly due to the high Baht).

 

 

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13 minutes ago, webfact said:

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.

44.3% fall in February.
It seems to me that we can expect a similar percentage or even worse in March;
the situation in the west will get worse and worse; in China which we no longer hear about, which seems to me to be a negative sign, it may not improve for several months ...
the very optimistic forecast of the TAT to only 25% less tourists (9 million less) is likely to explode ...
It will be at the end of the match that we will score the points and it may be much more than minus 9 million

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2 minutes ago, JonnyF said:

Not good timing when you consider this is on top of the terrible farming season (due to drought) and poor exports (partly due to the high Baht).

 

 

Currently exports are at USD 19.5 bill., down from a peak of USD 22.5 bill, we're currently at 2016 levels. The rapid growth rate was never sustainable and everyone understood that.

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1 minute ago, Assurancetourix said:

44.3% fall in February.
It seems to me that we can expect a similar percentage or even worse in March;
the situation in the west will get worse and worse; in China which we no longer hear about, which seems to me to be a negative sign, it may not improve for several months ...
the very optimistic forecast of the TAT to only 25% less tourists (9 million less) is likely to explode ...
It will be at the end of the match that we will score the points and it may be much more than minus 9 million

In February the pollution levels over China started to clear because of the virus, people stopped driving, factories stopped producing. Today, the pollution levels are starting to return, what does that tell you about what's happening currently in China!

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51691967

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Thailand is now entering the low season. Coupled with the corona virus I seriously doubt any tourists at all will visit Thailand.  End of March figures will continue through till high season and the end of the virus scare. Lack of travel insurance coverage, lots of cancelled flights, and the risk of falling ill and paying exorbitant hospital costs will stop long haul travel. 

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1 minute ago, geisha said:

Thailand is now entering the low season. Coupled with the corona virus I seriously doubt any tourists at all will visit Thailand.  End of March figures will continue through till high season and the end of the virus scare. Lack of travel insurance coverage, lots of cancelled flights, and the risk of falling ill and paying exorbitant hospital costs will stop long haul travel. 

All of it, like zero tourists, really?

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Well, lets honest all those tourists have not missed much, and those living here have certainly not missed them. Different for those in the industry of course  😔

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Tourists that are not being reimbursed by their agencies, airlines, hotels etc, might decide to go on holiday. There are many tourists blocked in Asia at the moment. The embassies can’t help, apparently. Stories in the press and Facebook. I came back home one month in advance of my return ticket. It’s not a time to enjoy yourself travelling.This situation will get worse before it gets better.

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1 minute ago, geisha said:

Tourists that are not being reimbursed by their agencies, airlines, hotels etc, might decide to go on holiday. There are many tourists blocked in Asia at the moment. The embassies can’t help, apparently. Stories in the press and Facebook. I came back home one month in advance of my return ticket. It’s not a time to enjoy yourself travelling.This situation will get worse before it gets better.

Yes sure it will. A drop of 10 million is huge although the remaining 30 million over the year is still a really meaty number, important to keep things in perspective I think.

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5 minutes ago, geisha said:

Tourists that are not being reimbursed by their agencies, airlines, hotels etc, might decide to go on holiday. There are many tourists blocked in Asia at the moment. The embassies can’t help, apparently. Stories in the press and Facebook. I came back home one month in advance of my return ticket. It’s not a time to enjoy yourself travelling.This situation will get worse before it gets better.

I might give you half a point for the press, but Facebook? Really?

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16 minutes ago, saengd said:

"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%,".

 

Just read that a few times and let it sink in, 30 million tourists is a worst case scenario, does 30 million tourists sound like Armageddon to you! 30 million is 2017 levels.

 

https://tradingeconomics.com/thailand/tourist-arrivals

 

If the Tourist arrivals remain at a near 50% down, that is 50% down on the number of arrivals quoted for 2019, which was 39 Million

Therefore 50% of 39 Million is only 19.5 Million.

That would be a true worst case scenario, with revenue close to only 1 Trillion Baht.

But there is a distinct possibility that the Tourist arrivals will be much worse than the 50% reduction. I anticipate that the Chinese Tourists will not be back in any significant numbers until maybe June of 2021.

This anticipation is based on the fact that the Chinese Gov,t will not allow travel of their Citizens in case of a possible flair up again of the Virus, and that the people will be needed to urgently repair the damage to the Chinese Economy by this outbreak.

 

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8 minutes ago, Cake Monster said:

 

If the Tourist arrivals remain at a near 50% down, that is 50% down on the number of arrivals quoted for 2019, which was 39 Million

Therefore 50% of 39 Million is only 19.5 Million.

That would be a true worst case scenario, with revenue close to only 1 Trillion Baht.

But there is a distinct possibility that the Tourist arrivals will be much worse than the 50% reduction. I anticipate that the Chinese Tourists will not be back in any significant numbers until maybe June of 2021.

This anticipation is based on the fact that the Chinese Gov,t will not allow travel of their Citizens in case of a possible flair up again of the Virus, and that the people will be needed to urgently repair the damage to the Chinese Economy by this outbreak.

 

I used the statement in the OP rather than the percentage falls and said 30 million was the estimate, clearly the two figures don't seem compatible. And whilst there is a possibility things may get worse it is also possible things may flat line or improve given the post earlier that said things in parts of China were slowly returning to normal.

 

Plus we've got lots and lots of people on this forum who tell us constantly that it's just the flu and its only media hype that is overplayed. I wonder how many people believe that and whether the 30 million all believe that, after all, you can't have it both ways, it's either all hype and there's no crash or it's real and there will be a crash.

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28 minutes ago, geisha said:

Thailand is now entering the low season. Coupled with the corona virus I seriously doubt any tourists at all will visit Thailand.  End of March figures will continue through till high season and the end of the virus scare. Lack of travel insurance coverage, lots of cancelled flights, and the risk of falling ill and paying exorbitant hospital costs will stop long haul travel. 

It won't fall to zero, though it will be a tough low season for everyone.

 

People like a bargain and many are prepared to overlook potential health and safety issues to save a few Euros. There are a lot of last minute bookers here in Phuket right now, taking advantage of cheap flights and packages.

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2 minutes ago, Mikeasq60 said:

I love this, great for traveling for those not afraid of this virus like myself.

Probably 99% here are not afraid of the virus but 99% are rightly concerned about getting caught up in the subsequent disruption.

Nobody with any sense is booking right now for travel over the next 3 months

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I'm already ticketed for the UK mid May, it's the last half of a return ticket. I'm likely to throw that away and wait until later in the year, moving from a stable environment at home in Thailand, to an unstable travel environment in the UK, doesn't seem sensible.

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41 minutes ago, saengd said:

Currently exports are at USD 19.5 bill., down from a peak of USD 22.5 bill, we're currently at 2016 levels. The rapid growth rate was never sustainable and everyone understood that.

Too bad personal debt levels will remain at 2019 levels.  But not to worry...the banks will accommodate them rather than asset strip them.

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2 minutes ago, Airalee said:

Too bad personal debt levels will remain at 2019 levels.  But not to worry...the banks will accommodate them rather than asset strip them.

You didn't know banks offered 1 mill. Baht mortgages for seven years, get over it and move on!

 

 

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44 minutes ago, saengd said:

Currently exports are at USD 19.5 bill., down from a peak of USD 22.5 bill, we're currently at 2016 levels. The rapid growth rate was never sustainable and everyone understood that.

Yes quite a drop. 

 

So tourism is down substantially, exports are down and agriculture is down. Are you aware how much these 3 things contribute to the Thai economy?

 

You are increasingly sounding like a spin doctor on behalf of all things related to the Thai economy, which is a shame as your posts used to make good reading. 

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

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.

Let's hope the banks don't start to fail with a liquidity crunch and people/businesses hoarding cash.

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51 minutes ago, saengd said:

In February the pollution levels over China started to clear because of the virus, people stopped driving, factories stopped producing. Today, the pollution levels are starting to return, what does that tell you about what's happening currently in China!

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51691967

It tells me that Chinese authorities were let in on how foreign evaluators were figuring out how China stopped working. And those same authorities have ordered factories and businesses to turn on the heat and electricity to generate adequate pollution, even if they are not producing anything. The biggest Potemkin Village in history.

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36 minutes ago, saengd said:

Looks like TAT was telling the truth, again!

raw arrivals has nothing to do with the number of tourists who actually entered Thailand for a few or more days.
In Raw arrivals, there are the very many travelers in transit who will not leave airports.

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