Covid-19 torpedoes tourism, 47 billion in lost revenue forThailand

A United Nations study estimates global damage at around 3300 billion dollars. Timid openings are not enough to restore confidence; the persistence of the economic crisis weighs. Over 2.5 million jobs in the sector are at risk. Bangkok approves two 700 million stimulus packages.


Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The new coronavirus pandemic is destined to cause huge losses to the tourism industry globally, with estimates at around 3300 billion dollars.

A recently published international study drawn up by experts from the United Nations reveals Thailand will be among the most affected countries with total damages of up to 47 billion dollars.

The report, prepared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) and titled "Covid-19 and tourism", is based on three different scenarios for the sector: namely widespread closures and lockdown measures that are prolonged for four, eight and 12 months.

In such a scenario, revenues could drop by $ 1170 billion respectively; 2220 billion dollars and 3300 billion dollars. At the level of global gross domestic product (GDP) for tourism, there is a decrease varying between 1.5 and 4.2% of the total. The study does not specify which of these three scenarios may be the most likely, although Unctad experts predict that the middle one would be viewed "as most realistic".

"International tourism has been almost totally suspended, and domestic tourism curtailed by lockdown conditions imposed in many countries," the report said. "Although some destinations have started slowly to open up, many are afraid of international travel or cannot afford it due to the economic crisis."

For UN experts, Thailand (like France) is expected to suffer losses of around $ 47 billion. The nation destined to lose the most is the United States with a drop of 187 billion dollars, followed by China with 105 billion (provided that the restrictions last "only" four months, and are not extended).

Thailand is already beginning to count the damage linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is however very well controlled from a healthcare point of view with a limited number of infections and an even smaller toll in terms of loss of life.

According to the latest estimates, up to 8.4 million people are at risk of losing their job and the tourism and entertainment sectors are among the most affected. The National Department for Economic and Social Development puts the collapse in the number of visitors and internal and foreigners could lead to a drop of at least 2.5 million jobs. A figure equal to 64% of a total of 3.9 million workers in the tourism industry.

In response to the crisis, the government of Thailand has approved two $ 700 million stimulus packages to support the sector, brought to its knees by Covid-19. The measures entered into force in recent days and will be active (at least) until 30 October. The measures include vouchers for two million domestic flights and funds for hotel expenses, restaurants and other services in the main tourist destinations. The government will support up to five million hotel stays, for up to 40% of the expense. Domestic air traffic plummeted 58.2% in the first five months of 2020, while international arrivals dropped 60%.

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