Global reports expect Thailand tourism to be hardest hit in the world
We all knew that tourism was going to take a big hit by Covid and there are many places in the world that rely on tourism for their economy. There are even some island nations in the Caribbean that depend almost entirely on tourism for their national economy. Thailand is pretty high on the list their overall economy is driven up to 20% by tourism. However, as opposed to Barbados, with a total population of less than 300,000, the nearly 80 million people in Thailand means that there is a much higher potential for huge losses and also government inability to step in to temporarily help with the problem.
There simply isn't enough resources for the government to distribute to the estimated 8 million people who work in the tourism industry in Thailand.
a recent report by Oxford Economics states that of all tourism destinations that exist globally, Thailand, and specifically Bangkok, will be the hardest hit of all destinations on the planet.
Thailand expects to get around 14-16 million international visitors every year and if we just focus on a few months of that above chart between March and now, where there have been zero international tourists, we can get an idea about how bad this situation is and is going to be.
The thing that is happening now and that is starting to really tick off the local population is that other countries who rely on tourism are developing schemes and even incentives to drive international tourism but (and this is my opinion based on years of experience) Thailand tends to have this viewpoint of that no other country is capable of doing anything as well as they are, and therefore are unwilling to accept the Covid-free certificates that are issued by any other country. Instead, they are insisting that any foreign travelers who wish to travel to the Kingdom be subjected to mandatory 14-day quarantine at their own expense. This of course is quite expensive not to mention the fact that your average tourist doesn't even get that much time off at all anyway and if they do so they probably have higher hopes for relaxation than sitting in a hotel room having food delivered by people in HazMat suits.
Things get even worse when you start to dig into the "meat and potatoes" of Thailand's tourism plan that they have been developing over the past decade or so. It was the cause of much concern among the population that Thailand's tourism industry was doing so well that the government decided to niggle with the numbers and started showing high favoritism towards certain nationalities, namely Chinese tourists. They would actually go out of their way to discourage travelers from other countries as they focused on "Quality tourists, instead of quantity."
The justification for this was the fact that Chinese tourists tended to turn up, stay for 10 days or less, spend a boatload of money, and then piss off. Whereas tourists from Europe and American tended to look for cheaper villa rentals and stay in the country for many months often living a life of an expat rather than dining at overpriced tourist locations for every meal.
For years many friends of mine, including relatively wealthy retirees have been seeing increased pressure to "get out" of the country and many of them did leave to nearby Cambodia, Vietnam, and even places much further away such as Indonesia, and even Central America, all of which have much friendlier immigration policies.
I'm not happy to see the people of Thailand suffering but not that long ago Chiang Mai was the number one digital nomad location on Earth, through various visa regulations and changes, this situation has done an near complete about face. If you live in Chiang Mai as I do, there are massive amounts of empty condos and houses for rent that all used to be filled with digital nomads.
Already places like Dominican Republic and Mexico are offering incentives to ENCOURAGE tourism to restart and the global population is responding in turn. There is a certain amount of safety that has to be taken into account such as people needing to be determined to be Covid negative before closely to their departure date and then they are tested again upon arrival while a test is fast-tracked so that a person doesn't need to be in quarantine for very long.
I'm not totally sure about this, but I don't think there is a mandatory quarantine at all for Mexico or The D.R.
Thailand is already seeing huge downturns in economic throughput and it is estimated that the tourism industry is going to shrink by 70% by the end of the year if massive changes aren't made.
Just yesterday, a tuk tuk driver was shot and killed by another tuk tuk driver and the claim behind it is that there are so few potential customers that we are going to start seeing an increase in the amount of violence that happens as every aspect of the tourism sector has far more supply than they do demand.
Thailand is going to have to do something, and they are going to need to do it quickly. This process of fiddling with the existing laws and rules and keeping borders completely closed simply isn't going to work. The people will be struggling to get food soon and when that happens, things are going to start getting ugly.