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  1. #1
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Thailand Threw A Tourism Party ... Nobody Came

    Thailand threw a tourism party. No one arrived. | The Thaiger

    The Thai Government, flushed with the success of their containment of Covid-19, decided to market the Land of Smiles to the world as the safe place to travel. With the annual wet season starting to weaken the tourists would flock back to the S E Asian country that had such remarkable success containing, then almost eradicating, itself of the coronavirus.


    They floated the Phuket Model – a chance to visit Phuket and do your mandatory quarantine in a luxury hotel with walks along the almost deserted beaches. But Phuket’s locals didn’t like that idea. It was floated again just before the annual Vegetarian Festival on the island, because piercing yourself with sharp objects and wandering around the streets in big groups isn’t dangerous, but a few foreign tourists in hotel quarantine is.


    Then they came up with the STV – the tourist visa which would have the world’s eager travellers packing their sun cream for up to 270 days of Thai tourism.
    There were promises of plane loads of tourists and even published flights and carriers. A few flights arrived, most didn’t.


    In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, fewer than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October. In the October and November of the year before more than 3 million people arrived in Thailand. Even the government’s limit of 1,200 new tourist arrivals per month was even slightly tested.


    The government had bought all the streamers and a pretty new dress for the party but no one came.


    For the Army generals and public servants who ran the country it was a devastating loss of face. But they had other things to worry about at the time as the Thai youth were revolting, literally. Anti-government protests, whilst modest in size, were inconveniently demanding democracy at the same time as the government was trying to figure out how to attract tourists. They were also targeting, for the first time, the country’s revered monarchy and the man who currently sits on the Thai throne.

    Suddenly it was high season, the annual onslaught of tourists from the end of November, but popular spots like Phuket, Samui, Krabi, all the other islands, even Chiang Mai, just remained mostly devoid of tourists.


    Meanwhile the STV wallowed in its own failure – another failed response to the reboot of Thai tourism.


    What went wrong?


    Where was the much-anticipated pent-up demand and people banging on the doors of the world’s Thai embassies?
    It was the European winter and the ‘snowbirds’ would surely be back to soak in some Thai sun rays. But no.


    The first problem was there wasn’t much for them to come back to. They would have the beaches of the islands all to themselves, they wouldn’t have to wait in line for anything, the domestic airlines were still selling low fares to travel anywhere around the country.


    But otherwise there wasn’t a lot for them to do. The tourism magnets were a shadow of their former selves. Walking Street, Bangla Road, tours and tour boats, all the tourist-strip restaurants. The buzz of the crowds was gone and more than 90% of the tourist-related business had closed up.


    Their staff, their families, their bank loans, their stock and investments – all on hold and forced to find some other means to make ends meet. 931 of some of the larger official tourism operators have now gone out of business, according to Bloomberg News. There would be thousands more of the smaller family operations that have also been swept aside by the Thai government’s responses to the world pandemic.


    The industry players wanted action, changes and some sort of stimulus to bring back the tourists. For a country that relied on up to 20% for its GDP, getting the tourists and travellers back was THE only thing on their mind. 2019’s tourism revenue of US$60 billion had vanished from their, and their employee’s, pockets.


    But the government wouldn’t relax the quarantine rules and maintained the restrictions and paperwork that has turned off even the keenest Thai-ravellers.


    An outbreak of clusters to the south of Bangkok and the nearby eastern coastal provinces since December 20 hasn’t helped. In less than a month Thailand’s number of Covid-19 infections more than doubled. Initially the latest outbreak was tracked down to the illegal import of Burmese migrant workers by greedy seafood businesses wanting cheap labour. Then it spread to eastern provinces – Rayong, Chan Buri, Trat and Chanthaburi – through illegal gambling dens. In both cases the practices were things the local officials turned a blind eye to. The use of cheap, illegal migrant labour and illegal gambling were both popular pursuits but ‘underground’. It was a rude awakening for Thai officials that, this time, the enemy was within.


    Street after street in Pattaya is deserted, shops shuttered. Parts of Phuket’s Patong are a ghost town. The island’s ubiquitous tuk tuks, taxis and tourist vans have vanished (where?!). Most of Bangkok is ‘sort of’ back to normal but there are few tourists topping up the retail till or booking rooms in the tens of thousands of hotels. Average occupancy rates, even for the brave hotels that have re-opened their doors, has been less than 30% – bottomline, they’re losing money.


    On the upside, if you are living in Thailand, the plane fares remain cheap, hotels have slashed their prices and, for the first time, many renters will consider a discount. The Thai government has been active in stimulating the domestic tourism but apart from circulating the local currency, the country’s tourism industry remains on-hold until the pandemic passes. And that, as we’ve seen, won’t be any time soon.


    The world’s travellers, now a much smaller group than the masses that fuelled the world’s aviation industry in the past few decades, are not heading to Thailand to front up to a 14 day quarantine. They’re going to the Maldives and Costa Rica, and a handful of other resorts who have thrown caution to the wind – some with greater success than others. Just about every survey indicates that tourists, even business travellers, are not willing to stare down 14 days cooped up in a 20-30 square metre hotel room. For many of the hotels that rushed to be registered as ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine) facilities, many have dropped out, some of them are now closed.


    The stakes are now really high for Thailand and its tourism industry. The government, despite demands, is refusing to reduce the quarantine time or lessen the long list of restrictions and paperwork. The country has now lost its glossy veneer as the ‘safe country to visit’ and the annual high season will be coming to a close in a month or so.


    Chinese New Year and the annual flood of Chinese visitors to Thailand? Won’t be happening in 2021, the Chinese year of the Ox.


    The only hope on the horizon is the vaccine, or vaccines. It will take 6 – 12 months to see if the hard work of the world’s medical and scientific community will be the great saviour. A risk-averse Thailand will be limiting any tourism in the immediate future to vaccinated customers only, and they will still have to do the 14 day mandatory quarantine, at least in the short-to medium term. So Thailand’s tourism woes, especially in the hotspots – Pattaya, Phuket, the islands, Chiang Mai and Bangkok – will reverberate throughout 2021 as well.


    Thailand’s economy contracted 6% in 2020 but some economists are predicting a positive turn-around to a 3.5 – 4.5% improvement in 2021. Even the ever-optimistic Thai Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says that there will be 10 million arrivals in 2021. The actual numbers, even in the best of circumstances, will fall well below that prediction. Exactly where the tourists would come from, under the current circumstances and a global depression, is difficult to imagine.

  2. #2
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    A perennial feature of the Thai cognitive impairment that prevents them from processing evidence rationally to form reasoned conclusions, is that the vacuum created by this deficiency is filled with blind optimism sourced from their belief system that merit making and the procurement of amulets and other spiritual gewgaws will somehow engender its own reward.

    Given that with all its resources the UK does not expect to see any radical improvement to the pandemic environment until autumn of this year at the earliest, and many are now talking about 2022 as the more likely time, one truly does wonder just how Thailand which hasn't even started its vaccination programme is to welcome 10 million international visitors.

    Quite the silliest people on the planet.

    They do get carried away by their own bombast but perhaps they should remind themselves that the only way they avoided contagion was by isolating the entire country from the rest of the world in April 2020 and maintaining the quarantine without letup until the recent osmosis of returning infected illegals through porous land borders marshalled by corrupted agencies feeding an illegal labour market.

  3. #3
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seekingasylum View Post
    perhaps they should remind themselves that the only way they avoided contagion was by isolating the entire country from the rest of the world in April 2020 and maintaining the quarantine without letup
    Well, this has been a flaw in planning that has affected almost all countries around the world, even Korea which was initially so widely lauded.

    The UK has just introduced 'self isolation' after ten months. That beggars belief.

    At least Thailand has some sensible policies it enacted to be reminded of.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Thailand Threw A Tourism Party ... Nobody Came
    Change Tourism to Birthday.



    Thailand to cyrille.



    :zinger:

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Exactly where the tourists would come from, under the current circumstances and a global depression, is difficult to imagine.
    Reply Reply With Quote
    ...... and having arrived, and completed the mandatory 14 days quarantine, where will they go?
    Proof of an acceptable vaccine, and a negative swab test, should give any asean nation a head start in the tourism stakes. Unlikely to be possible until 2022 at the earliest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    Well, this has been a flaw in planning that has affected almost all countries around the world, even Korea which was initially so widely lauded.

    The UK has just introduced 'self isolation' after ten months. That beggars belief.

    At least Thailand has some sensible policies it enacted to be reminded of.
    You seem to have overlooked the not entirely insignificant fact that such a rigidly imposed quarantine measure extending for over ten months could only take place in a dictatorship governing a compliant and supine population unable to express their protest in any meaningful way without fear of persecution.

  7. #7
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    That just seems to me the sort of amusingly convoluted 'reasoning' employed by flyblown colonialists like you and switch to avoid giving other countries credit.

    Thankfully the last post will be played for you both soon, and you will repair to the great mess hall in the sky.

    Remember now 'belt and braces', especially considering the company.

  8. #8
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    Fuck off you silly cvunt.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    That just seems to me the sort of amusingly convoluted 'reasoning' employed by flyblown colonialists like you and switch to avoid giving other countries credit.

    Thankfully the last post will be played for you both soon, and you will repair to the great mess hall in the sky.

    Remember now 'belt and braces', especially considering the company.
    I say old chap, that’s a bit of a whoosh moment, even for you. lol

  10. #10
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    That doesn't even remotely make sense, you silly old porker.

    And aren't you at least 40 years too old for 'lol' and more suited to 'lolling'?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seekingasylum View Post
    You seem to have overlooked the not entirely insignificant fact that such a rigidly imposed quarantine measure extending for over ten months could only take place in a dictatorship governing a compliant and supine population unable to express their protest in any meaningful way without fear of persecution.
    All the same, it appears to have worked. I was quite impressed with the measures taken when I was there March -> June. Certainly better than the measures taken in Germany and the UK, especially when it comes to quarantine. I actually felt safer in Thailand!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    That doesn't even remotely make sense, you silly old porker.

    And aren't you at least 40 years too old for 'lol' and more suited to 'lolling'?
    Well you seem to have made you mind up about my quality of life and my history, so I obviously have nothing new to teach you do I?

    As posted previously, I use the lol chat because I know how much it offends your delicate sensibilities.

  13. #13
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    A fine piece of writing , cyrille .
    Better than anything I read in the Commercial Media .

    w

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post

    In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, fewer than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October.

    Even the ever-optimistic Thai Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says that there will be 10 million arrivals in 2021. The actual numbers, even in the best of circumstances, will fall well below that prediction. Exactly where the tourists would come from, under the current circumstances and a global depression, is difficult to imagine.
    I reckon Khun Phiphat needs a new calculator or maybe a new crystal ball.

    I wonder where Thaiger gets its statistics, 400 arrivals per month seems a very small number indeed. Anyway, assuming that 400 is approximately correct then we could be on target for nearly 5,000 visitors this year. Even that assumes that Thailand's second wave doesn't swell to scary numbers.

  15. #15
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    ^ That is the number for Special Tourist Visa, between 300 and 400 monthly. Yes it's quite low, I guess staying 15 days in an hotel room isn't that attractive to potential visitors, and they may have to isolate themselves when they come back home.
    That doesn't cover other types of visas (retirement, Thai spouse etc)

  16. #16
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    Staycation is the new vacation.

    Thailand will have to adapt and cater to it's domestic market for the foreseeable, great news for those in country.

  17. #17
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    At least the guy from the TAT is getting closer to the truth about the situation, no 10 millions tourists expected for 2021 anymore, he stated that it would take 3 to 4 years before getting pre-covid numbers.

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