Coronavirus Kills 1.45 Million Tourism Jobs In Thailand
Apr 04, 2021

Thailand has lost about 1.45 million tourism jobs since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out early last year, Vichit Prakobgoson, vice-president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, told a briefing on March 29. Of the job losses, 400,000 occurred in the first quarter this year, he said.

The outlook is still dim even though the country is desperately trying to find solutions to attract tourists back, the latest being a reopening for vaccinated visitors with reduced or waived quarantine at popular holiday destinations such as Phuket.

Thailand was long relying on an ever-burgeoning mass tourism industry which reached close to 40 million visitors in the year before the pandemic broke out, and fueled around 20 per cent of GDP with an (official) spending of 1.91 trillion baht ($61.2 billion).

However, the country has radically downsized its expectations for this year, estimating that some three million foreign tourists would arrive as starting from July, inoculated tourists will be allowed to visit Phuket without the mandatory two-week quarantine, and from October Pattaya, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Phang Nga and Krabi.

Much more humble expectations for tourism arrivals

The projection is in line with the Thai central bank’s estimate but far below the 6.5 million tourists projected by the government’s Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The spending forecast is also much lower at 156 billion baht ($5.3 billion) this year.

As for tourism jobs, there were 4.5 million employed in the industry before the pandemic, out of a total workforce in the country of about 38 million people.

Analysts have frequently pointed out the dilemma that Thailand’s strict entry requirements have helped keep coronavirus infections relatively low, but at the same time have devastated tourism.

Photo by Frida Aguilar Estrada on Unsplash