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Tourism Trauma and COVID-19

Costa Rica, Greece, Morocco, Portugal, and Thailand could be among the hardest hit with losses in tourism proceeds exceeding 3 percent of GDP, according to the IMF’s recently released 2020 External Sector Report.

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A deserted taxi station at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi international airport

Pandemic-related lockdowns, flight cancellations, and border closures may be putting a crimp on summer vacation plans. However, the precipitous drop in tourism will have an outsized impact on countries that rely on foreign travelers—with potentially large-scale effects on their economies’ national accounts.

Costa Rica, Greece, Morocco, Portugal, and Thailand could be among the hardest hit with losses in tourism proceeds exceeding 3 percent of GDP, according to the IMF’s recently released 2020 External Sector Report.

The chart calculates direct tourism impacts on imports, exports, and current account balances under a scenario that envisions gradual reopenings in September, but a drop of about 70 percent in tourism receipts and international tourism arrivals in 2020.

A country’s current account balance is a measure of its total transactions—which includes but is not limited to trade in goods and services—with the rest of the world. For some economies, a drop in tourism (which is considered an export) could have an impact on overall current account balances.

For example, in Thailand, a decrease in tourism due to COVID-19 could bring the country’s overall exports down by 8 percentage points of GDP and have a direct net impact of about 6 percentage points of GDP on its current account balance in 2020. That could erode part of the 7 percent overall current account surplus the country had in 2019.

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Wish you were here: how the pandemic harmed tourism-dependent economies

Before COVID-19, travel and tourism had become one of the most important sectors in the world economy, accounting for 10 percent of global GDP and more than 320 million jobs worldwide.

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In 1950, at the dawn of the jet age, just 25 million people took foreign trips. By 2019, that number had reached 1.5 billion, and the travel and tourism sector had grown to almost too-big-to-fail proportions for many economies.

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Thai Government imposes ban on gatherings over New Year 2021 holidays

TAT would like to remind all that New Year 2021 activities have been cancelled or gone virtual nationwide to avoid large gatherings according to the Royal Thai Government’s guidelines.

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Bangkok, 31 December, 2020 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update regarding the Royal Thai Government’s latest announcement on the ban of gatherings nationwide.

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Thailand eases travel restrictions for 56 countries

Tourists from 56 countries including Australia, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States can now travel to Thailand without visas.

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The Thai government is easing travel restrictions for citizens from 56 countries to help the country’s pandemic-hit tourism industry recover, but foreign visitors are still required to undergo a mandatory 14 days hotel quarantine.

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