The majority of Thais disagree with lifting the tourist ban as the country is expecting the first batch of tourists on October 8, 2020.
Bangkok-based National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) Poll revealed that 57% from 1,318 participants in the poll, collected between October 1-2, disagreed with the government plan to reopen its borders to foreign tourists on October 8, onwards, stating that the reopening could cause the second wave of coronavirus outbreak in Thailand.
Meanwhile, 61.5% of the participants were not confident in the government’s effort in the control management of the coronavirus outbreak when the reopening begins.
Tourism plays a great role in driving Thai economy by accounting to 17% of Thailand’s GDP with nearly 40 million arrivals in 2019. However, the tourism has been shutted down since late March due to the coronavirus outbreak, barring foreign arrivals into Thailand, bringing the number of tourist arrivals in 2020 down to only 6.7 million, so far.
Meanwhile, Thai exports, another leg and arm for Thai economy, still contracts 7.8% this year, but shows signs of better performance after recording a better-than-expect contraction at 7.9% from the market forecast of 10-14% contraction.
Still, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha is trying to revive Thailand’s tourism, in which two third of the receipt came from foreign arrivals while keeping the virus away from the country. The reopening measures consist of tourists granted with a special-type visa (long stay), mainly Chinese tourists, with a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
In the statement on Wednesday, PM Prayut said that the country would continue to suffer with these economic problems if the government does not act now.