The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects the country may never get 40 million foreign visitors each year like it did in the past.
Base on that, is there a big policy shift from mass tourism by the Thai government?
Quote from the governor Tourism Authority of Thailand,
No more mass tourism. When this industry gets back on its own feet, Thailand should not be recognized as an unsafe place but be a ‘sexy’ destination, which means we will provide safety, hygiene, environmental sustainability, extra experiences and focus on yield.
Is right now the turning point of Thailand from being a budget-friendly destination for travellers to something else?
The tourism industry is one of the country’s biggest moneymaker. But the massive number of tourists in the past put an enormous burden on the environment. For example, what you saw in Maya Beach.
It was closed from tourists and endless herds of speed boats.
Maya Beach remains close as of this writing. As the authority hopes to have the marine life restored. It will not reopen until later this year in 2021.
The massive amount of tourists in the past few years exceeded the airport capacity of 45 million passengers per year.
With the current travel restrictions, Thailand has the perfect opportunity and timing to change its tourism industry and policy.
It can turn the country into an attractive holiday getaway for the well off, but to do this, would they have to abolish the adult entertainment industry and the zero Chinese tours?
If not, is it going back to what they know, the easy money with its nightlife venues for single men and back to the Chinese money over the environment?
And sure, all the good stuff are still here, Thai food, the beach, warm weather, scenery, friendly locals, cost of living, health care and so on.
Although the country had eased some of the travel restrictions. Allowing travellers to get single entry tourist visa, also elite visa cardholders can enter, allowing retirees entry and many other groups of visitors.
From April 2020, there were no international visitors in the country. But about 1200 international visitors in October and about 3065 in November 2020.
A huge contrast from 3 to 4 million international visitors per month a year before.
The fact all foreign visitors will require to stay 14 days quarantine at a registered hotel on arrival in Bangkok is a big turn off for many visitors.
At the time of this writing, we are in a second wave. But international visitors are still allowed entry at the airport.
Besides that, the 14 days quarantine, testing, screen and travel restrictions. Is there any major policy shift from mass tourism in the government? Is it abolishing the adult entertainment industry, perhaps banning the Chinese zero tour groups? Or both? Because the governor Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “No more mass tourism…”
The governor also said they need to increase the average spending per tourist by 30% to offset the estimated 8 million arrivals in 2021.
What The Arthur Think
To me, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand is planning to promote the country as a holiday destination for the well off by focusing on high spenders.
30% increase per tourist spending per tripe, they’re aiming at 62,000 baht per tourists in the next two years.
Btw, how do they how much people are spending? Maybe they add all the foreign money in the banks and divide that with the total number of foreign tourists?
Also, the average Chinese tourists spent about 50,000 baht per person in 2019. Only the European, American, and Oceania nations, including Austrian and people from the middle east, spent more than 60,000 baht per tourist in 2019. I’m sure some of you spend a lot more than 62,000 baht per trip.
No More Mass Tourism From China?
Does that mean no more mass tourism from China in the next couple of years? Because the Chinese don’t spend that much per person but combine, Chinese spent the most than any other nation.
What do you think? Will there be fewer westerners visiting Thailand even they lift the quarantine and all the required testing, requirements?
Do you see no more mass tourism here again?
Will the number go back to 40 million foreign tourists in 3 years or 5 years or ever?
I think once the vaccine is out in Thailand, and they remove the quarantine.
Mass tourism will be back, base on the facts that they are finishing up the high-speed train to China and the expansion of the Bangkok international airport and one other major reason, I’ll talk about in a sec.
They have been talking about getting high income or people with money coming here years ago.
The discussion is nothing new. I doubt anything will change that, even this pandemic.
Unless the Prime Minister came out and said no more mass tourism or his boss above him said it in public, then I would take it seriously. Because they can sign that policy into law.
Saying the tourism industry only attract high-income tourists, but that hasn’t happened because I don’t think it will create the massive income needed to sustain some of these millionaires or billionaires lifestyles.
Also, they would have wasted billions and billions of baht developing the high-speed train and expansion of the Bangkok airport.
Therefore, I think it will never gain traction in this country until huge inequality of wealth is reduced or removed.
Right now, Thailand average income per capita is $7,000 or $8,000 USD per year, which is growing but nowhere near $40,000 per capita like Japan.
Because I think once the average Thai income is about $40,000 USD per year, Thais can rely on domestic tourism, they don’t need mass tourism from foreigners. And the country’s millionaires or billionaires can sustain their lifestyles.
Mass Tourism Will Come Back
Here’s why I think mass tourism will come back in the future.
For example, look at the second wave we are in right now.
It was ok for a few months, no second outbreak, and everyone was following the rules, then what happened? Someone got greedy, paid someone under the table and let migrant workers in without any testing or quarantine because of their self-interest.
So I think attracting only wealthy foreigners would work out for a bit, but later on. It will be back to normal, more Chinese tourists, wait until the completion of the high-speed train, and the expansion of the Bangkok airport.
The bars and all the adult entertainment will come back.
The beaches will be pack with tourists. The only thing that might change is you might have to wear a mask or get your temperature check at the airport, also mandatory health insurance that already happened.
New Mandate Health Insurance
The day before I wrote this article, I didn’t know about a plan the Thai tourism minister was going to have every international visitors pay 300 baht or about $10 USD fee per trip to the country.
Bangkokpost said the money would be used to provide insurance benefits to international tourist, but only 12% of that money or 34 baht will be for the health insurance.
That is expected to be the law of the land soon, or it is already is.