Thailand may hit 14-year low in tourist arrivals

Thailand 2017

The number of foreign tourists in Thailand may plunge by almost two-thirds to 14 million this year. This will be the lowest level in 14 years, as the coronavirus pandemic hits global travel, according to estimates from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), a Reuters report said.

The TAT now predicts only 14 million to 16 million foreign visitors this year, sharply down from 33.8 million projected in March. Last year’s foreign arrivals were a record 39.8 million.

Tourism is crucial to Thailand as spending from foreign tourists amounted to 1.93 trillion baht ($59.98 billion), or 11% of GDP last year.

The tourism authority is hoping foreign visitors will return to Thailand in October, the country’s high tourist season, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.

“Our best-case scenario is that domestic tourism will start to improve in June or July, while foreign visitors should come in around October,” he said.

“Forward bookings are showing a good trend, with smaller drops. But that will also depend on the outbreak situation and travel restrictions,” he added.