Thai Tourism Requires 3 Years to Match Pre-Covid Level, Says Standard Chartered

An economist at Standard Chartered Thailand estimated Thai tourism recovery to take at least three year to march the pre-Covid level.

Thailand is expecting to reopen the country from November for fully-vaccinated international visitors with Covid-19 vaccine and will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions.

The second-largest economic country in Southeast Asia has been seeing a plummet in tourist arrivals since the outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020 that led to a closure of international inbound since then.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand estimated that the tourism arrivals in 2021 will be Thailand’s historic low from the previous target of 3 million arrivals to only 1 million arrivals. Total revenue generated from international tourists and domestic tourism is estimated at 328 billion baht, compared to 3 trillion baht in pre-Covid period. Still, the authority expected a V-shape recovery in Thailand tourism, projecting 50% recovery in 2022 to pre-Covid level and 80% in 2023.


Tim Leelahaphan, an economist at Standard Chartered Thailand, wrote in a note expecting Thailand’s tourism industry will take at least three years to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, which will keep economic growth weak in the next two years.

Chinese travellers, major contributors for Thai tourism who made up 28% of foreign arrivals in 2019, are unlikely to return in large numbers any time soon due to the travel restrictions by the Chinese government in preventing most of its citizens from travelling outbound.

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