Published on : Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Last year 340 Chinese speaking tour guides in Thailand took care of groups of 60-70 Chinese visitors. The same 340 Chinese guides are now out of business and desperately looking for income. One tour guide made about $1000 a week last year and is now struggling to pay rent.
Chinese tourists are counting for about one-third of all visitors to the Kingdom. In a best-case scenario, Thailand is expecting about two million fewer tourists in 2020. Tour companies in Bangkok that cater to Chinese tourists have “closed” signs on their doors.
There are only 19 cases and no fatalities of coronavirus cases in Thailand. The first patient was a Thai taxi driver, who was likely to have been infected by a sick Chinese traveler.
A Japanese coach driver was also reported to have been infected while driving a Chinese tour group from Wuhan, identified as ground zero for the virus outbreak.
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket are identified as sensitive areas for a possible virus outbreak in Thailand.
If the coronavirus outbreak can be contained within a month’s time, inbound Chinese tourist arrivals are estimated at 11.1-11.3 million in 2020. But if the virus outbreak continues unabated for up to three months, the arrivals could decline to 10.8-10.9 million, resulting in a 0.5-2% annual contraction, K-Research said.
As tourism is a cash cow boosting Thailand’s economic growth, the loss will be significant for the Land of the Smiles.