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  1. #1
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    Deserted beaches, empty bars: Covid-19 devastates Thailand's tourist islands

    Deserted beaches, empty bars: Covid-19 devastates Thailand's tourist islands


    Visitor numbers expected to plummet by tens of millions in crisis that eclipses the 2004 tsunami, bird flu and Sars

    The streets of Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations, are eerily quiet. Along Chaweng’s Beach Road, a usually raucous party area, shuttered shops stretch into the distance.

    Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was buzzing with traffic. Now, taxi drivers sit on the roadside, with little hope of finding customers. Where bikini-clad sunseekers once browsed souvenir shops and drank at neon-lit bars, a lone street dog stretches on the pavement.
    Elsewhere, swathes of Samui’s idyllic, sandy white beaches are almost entirely free of people.
    About 40 million tourists flocked to Thailand last year, drawn by its spectacular coastlines, ornate temples and famous cuisine. Yet in 2020, the country will struggle to attract even a quarter of that number, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
    Tourism ground to a halt in April, when Thailand imposed a ban on all incoming passenger flights. The country – which has so far managed to contain Covid-19, recording 3,255 cases and 58 deaths – is discussing travel bubbles with low-risk neighbouring countries, but no one knows when these might be established. Borders remain shut to almost all foreign tourists.

    The travel sector has survived devastating crises before, including the 2004 tsunami, bird flu and Sars outbreaks. But the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is beyond comparison, says Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor for marketing communication at the TAT. During previous crises, revenue dropped by around a fifth, he said. This year, the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause a 80% fall in revenues. “It’s a huge impact,” he said.
    To make matters worse, Thailand’s economy has become even more reliant on tourism, accounting for almost 20% of GDP, according to Tanes. About 4.4 million people are employed across the industry – in transport, travel agencies, restaurants and hotels.

    In Samui, many have gone for months without work. Before coronavirus, Jarunee Kasorn, who works in a local massage parlour in Chaweng, says her colleagues would welcome up to 90 clients a day. They’re one of the few businesses to reopen on Beach Road, but a whole day can go by without a single customer. “If there are no tourists, then there’s no business,” she said. Most of the shop’s 20 staff have left the island altogether, and returned to their family homes elsewhere in Thailand.
    Though modest social assistance payments were offered to workers during lockdown, this is no longer available.


    Deserted beaches, empty bars: Covid-19 devastates Thailand's tourist islands | World news | The Guardian

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    I didn't realize government funding has stopped. It seems like a dire situation there for people. Anyone on the ground on these islands and see the impact? My heart does go out to these people that work or depend on the tourism industry. I hope they find a vaccine soon for all of our sakes.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat Airportwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    I hope they find a vaccine soon for all of our sakes.
    Rumour has it that the vaccine will be found shortly after the release of the HIV vaccine

  3. #3
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    Here's hoping the greed stops with Covid and these places return to how they were 20-30 years ago.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
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    Almost no customers? Time to raise the prices.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Here's hoping the greed stops with Covid and these places return to how they were 20-30 years ago.
    Can they survive without tourism though? 20% GDP isn't that quite a lot?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound View Post
    Almost no customers? Time to raise the prices.
    I'm sure they will in the future.. it won't be the same for a long long time ..

  7. #7
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Can only be beneficial.

  8. #8
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarilynMonroe View Post
    it won't be the same for a long long time

    As Troy suggests...hopefully never.

    And those godawful spin classes will die too so we can all just get back to cycling.

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