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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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Thailand approves Special Tourist Visa (STV) for long-staying visitors

Under the STV scheme, long-staying visitors can stay in Thailand for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each for a further 90 days, up to a total length of 270 days.

Bahar Karaman

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The Thai Cabinet has approved a special tourist visa (STV) for long-staying visitors (90 days) in a bid to revive the tourism sector in Thailand.

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) put together exclusive travel deals for expats

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with relevant tourism units, has put together a special fair for expats and foreigners living in the kingdom to gain access to exclusive tourism deals

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with relevant tourism units, has put together a special fair for expats and foreigners living in the kingdom to gain access to exclusive tourism deals similar to what Thais’ are receiving with the ‘We Travel Together’ scheme.

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Thailand partners with Alipay and Fliggy to boost expats’ tourism

TAT campaign enables Chinese expats who live in Thailand and hold an Alipay account to enjoy exclusive deals offered by participating hotels when booking a domestic trip through Fliggy.

Boris Sullivan

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in partnership with Alipay and Fliggy, has launched a strategic tourism promotion campaign to boost domestic tourism post-COVID-19 lockdown by encouraging Chinese expats living in Thailand to travel domestically.

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