Thailand is expecting to generate 1.23 trillion baht in the tourism revenue this year, mainly driven by the local policymakers, the tourism minister mentioned on Friday, after a fall in international tourism due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
The cabinet recently approved a $722 million package of measures for boosting the domestic tourism and relax travel restrictions in the nation in the wake of the deadly novel virus pandemic.
In the first five months of the year, Thailand booked a tourism revenue of 350 billion baht. Tourism is crucial to the economy, although much of it comes from international visitors. A record of 39.8 million foreign tourists visited the country last year and spent 1.93 trillion baht, accounting for 11 percent of the country's GDP.
Thailand Expecting 1.23 Trillion Baht in Tourism
The Ministry only expects 3.3 million foreign tourists for the rest of this year, however, after recording 6.7 million in the first five months. The Tourism Council of Thailand, an industry group, on Tuesday urged the government to sign "travel bubble" agreements with other countries over fears that revenue would further decline.
Foreign travelers will initially include medical tourists who have a history of treatment in Thailand, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said. For general tourists the government is in discussion with its coronavirus task force, he said, adding that if the pandemic situation improves the ministry could propose allowing in more tourists in August and September.
Initially, foreign tourists would be focused on islands like Koh Tao and Phuket and would not be required to observe a 14-day quarantine although they would have to be virus-free, he said. Thailand has recorded 3,180 infections and 58 deaths, but no local transmission cases for 39 days.
(With agency inputs)