Thailand and other Asian countries are witnessing drop in tourists from corona virus scare

Published on : Thursday, February 13, 2020

Many drivers of Thailand’s renowned “tuk tuk” motorized rickshaws are used to busy days ferrying tourists around Bangkok, but now they wait for hours without a single customer.


Ever since corona virus spread from China last month, many tuk tuk drivers are witnessing daily income drop every day. Besides drop in Chinese tourists, there are few tourists from other countries as well.


Such concerns are becoming more common across Asia’s tourism industry, with more countries advising their citizens to be cautious as the corona virus toll surpassed 1,100 deaths, with most of them inside China.


Majority of the 2020 travel season stands the chances of getting severely affected.
“It’s not just China. Travelers from other countries are also postponing or cancelling visits not just to Singapore, but we are seeing evidence across Asia,” said Keith Tan, the chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board.


However, some tourism officials are of the opinion that the market is flexible and may well bounce back once the virus is brought into control. Still, many are worried that the slump might continue for months.


“We forecast an overall decline of up to 50 per cent in the number of bookings for the first half of the year, compared with the same period last year,” said Alicia Seah, director of communications at travel agency Dynasty Travel, based in Singapore.


Tourism-dependant economies like Thailand, which derives around 12 per cent of its GDP from foreign visitors, are particularly affected by travel restrictions and warnings.


“Today the impact has not been just on Chinese tourists but on all tourists,” said Chairat Triratanajaraspon, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand.


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