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Tourist arrivals plunge 43% on Chinese travel drought

Coronavirus crisis is keeping Thailand’s top vacation spenders away with a 85% decline in Chinese visitors in the first week of February.

Olivier Languepin

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Tourist numbers from February 1-9 were down 43.4 per cent, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and among Chinese visitors 86.5 per cent.

The drop in Chinese tourist numbers from January to April alone could cost the Thai economy $3.05 billion, according to The Tourism Authority of Thailand, not counting the revenue loss of other nationalities choosing to stay away.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn expects tourist arrivals to plunge by 50 per cent in the first half of this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

A 50% reduction in tourist numbers in the first half would mean cutting the yearly prediction from 40 million entries in 2020 to 20 million.

The tourism and export sectors have been hit hard by the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, with a growing number of cases found in Thailand and the region.

This has led to the latest TCC Confidence Index for January 2020 showing a continuous decline from the previous year.

From zero dollar tours to zero booking

Arrivals booked by the Association of Thai Travel Agents dropped 99% from China and 71% overall for the first ten days of February compared with the same period last year, reports Reuters.

The sharp plunge in Chinese tourism income intensifies the pressure on Thailand’s economy, which has already felt a squeeze on exports, severe drought in rural areas, budget delay and from the strong baht.

Thailand’s central bank cut interest rates to a record low on February 5, looking to offset the impact on the economy.

So far Thailand hasn’t put any restrictions on Chinese tourists entering the country, but as the outbreak claims over 1,300 lives in China, some countries face calls from the public for a full ban on Chinese visitors.

The Philippines on Feb. 2 widened a travel ban covering visitors from Hubei Province to all foreign travelers from China, including Hong Kong and Macao. Singapore has banned the entry of foreigners who traveled to China within the previous 14 days, as has the U.S.

Coved-19 cases have remained stable in Thailand with only 33 cases so far, with 20 remaining in the hospitals and 13 that have been sent home after having fully recovered.

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Tourism

International tourist arrivals were down 72% in Asia-Pacific from January to June

As the following chart shows, international tourist arrivals were down 65 percent globally for the five months ending May 2020 compared to the same period of 2019.

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Earlier this year, the UN’s World Tourism Organization published estimates on how big the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on international tourist arrivals could be.

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Tourism

Hotel manager in Thailand sends unhappy customer to prison

An American expat working in Thailand, is facing two years in prison after leaving a negative review on a Tripadvisor page for Sea View Resort on Koh Chang Island.

Olivier Languepin

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Picture from Sea View Resort & Spa Koh Chang TripAdvisor page.

What started as an ordinary case of a disgruntled customer asked to pay 500 baht (around $15) for a corkage fee in a seaside resort, ended in a full-fledged and worldwide PR disaster.

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Tourism

Thailand allows six new groups of foreigners to enter the Kingdom

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved the motion to allow six groups of people to come to Thailand.

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved several measures related to COVID-19 prevention measures.

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