Picture Phuket, Thailand credit Nick Linnen on Unsplash
The reopening roadmap for Thailand tourism has raised hopes that the industry may start to recover later this year but there are still fears that the recovery will be slow.
Phuket is due to be the first area to relax entry restrictions. Vaccinated travellers will be able to visit the island from July as part of the Sandbox roadmap.
Tourism leaders and organisations in Phuket are worried however that demand will remain low especially if international flights to Phuket are not scheduled soon.
July and August are traditionally quieter times in Phuket as winds and rain hit the island.
A number of Phuket organisations have called for the We Travel Together, targeting domestic tourists, subsidy scheme to continue for the forseeable future to help the industry to survive until greater numbers of foreign tourists start arriving.
From October the Sandbox roadmap plans for 5 further provinces to reopen to vaccinated travellers, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Krabi, Pattaya and Phangnga.
Like in Phuket, this plan relies on the local success in the rollout of Covid vaccines to the local population. If any areas fail to make significant progress, they are unlikely to be allowed to reopen.
This uncertainty means that many airlines are reluctant to begin scheduling flights which they may struggle to sell until customers are confident that their trips will be allowed to go ahead without an enforced quarantine period.
Return Of Lucrative Bookings
For many larger hotels and resorts the return of larger, more lucrative bookings, will be required to see a real recovery.
These bookings, including weddings and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) bookings can contribute up to 90% of revenue for some operators.
It is unlikely that many of these bookings will return in the short term and some are fearful that it will take until at least 2023 for significant numbers to return.
New Covid Outbreaks
The latest outbreak of Covid-19 could hardly of come at a worse time for the tourism industry.
Originating in Bangkok, the latest outbreak has spread throughout Thailand and 42 provinces have now imposed entry restrictions as they work to halt the spread of the virus.
The country has been recording almost 1,000 new cases each day, the highest numbers throughout the whole pandemic. Today an additional 965 cases were recorded and Thailand has now confirmed 34,575 cases and 97 deaths.
Concern grows that as the outbreak continues plans to relax entry restrictions in Phuket in July will be delayed causing a ripple effect to other areas.
Higher numbers of cases in Thailand is also likely to cause increased concern over holiday bookings from consumers amid the risk of changing quarantine and entry restrictions at home and in Thailand.
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