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Covid wrecking Thailand’s tourism industry–major drop in travellers from China, India and Japan

Thailand tourism hit due to Covid related restrictions

Thailand, a favourite tourist destination for Indians, has borne the brunt of Covid 19 with its tourism sector coming to a near halt. And now even as the country is opening up its tourism sector, worries are not yet over.

Despite Thailand opening its door to international tourists, passengers on international flights to the Southeast Asian country dropped by 95 per cent in September 2021, compared to the previous year. Hotels, in turn, only filled 9 percent of their rooms, a McKinsey study said, adding that Bangkok’s tourism sector could only recover to the pre-crisis levels by 2024.

The tourism sector is of critical importance for Thailand. It created 36 million jobs between 2014 and 2019, the study said.

Also read: 7 travel predictions for 2022

The McKinsey study also noted that in the pre-Covid-19 phase, China accounted for more than 27 per cent of 2019 tourism receipts. “Given the current prudent approach of the Chinese government toward international travel, the road of return for Chinese visitors to Thailand will be a long one,” it said.

Uncertainty levels have been rising in China following the slowdown in the economy amid crumbling of the real estate sector along with a clampdown of the private sector. “It is therefore natural that many Chinese citizens would tighten their purse strings and one the worst impacted will be the travel and tourism sector,” a person engaged with the hospitality sector told India Narrative. 

Thailand may now have to scout for newer markets, McKinsey noted.

Besides China, Japan, South Korea, and India also provide close to 2 million visitors to Thailand each year, the Thaiwebsites.com said.