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9 Dec 2020


Inbound Tourism, 2021: Growth Projected to Be Limited, But Set to Pick Up in 2H21 if COVID-19 Eases and Vaccine is Ready Current Issue No.3166)


​Thailand's inbound tourism in 2021 has begun to see positive news, regarding significant progress on the COVID-19 vaccine development, and its planned use with people in many countries by the end of 2020. In addition, Thailand has signed an advance agreement with a pharmaceutical firm to secure supply of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected to be available after 2H20. Such developments represent good signs in combating the COVID-19 pandemic ahead.

However, the number of international tourist arrivals in Thailand will likely remain low during 2021 due to a number of downside risks, in particular uncertainties surrounding the Thai government's policy of lifting its entry ban on foreign tourists because it has to assess the COVID-19 situation at home and abroad, plus results of using vaccines with people in some countries. KResearch assesses that the number of international tourist arrivals in Thailand may reach roughly 4.5-7.0 million, and their spending may total some THB340-480 billion in 2021.

To boost the number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand, KResearch is of the view that the government may consider new measures to attract special types of tourists. These include setting up an overseas coordinating center tasked with providing accurate information about travel measures in Thailand as most of the current information on Thailand's inbound tourism through online channels is still inaccurate.

Meanwhile, the government has proactive plans to bolster domestic tourism, too. This will be achieved for instance by increasing the number of domestic tourism stimulus programs, plus offering additional tax breaks and deductions, based on local travel expenses. Other measures include financial assistance for small and community travel-related businesses, which are at the end of the tourism supply chain, such as elephant jungle sanctuaries and travel agents. The government and relevant agencies are also mulling over specific measures, such as offering special-interest loans and setting up an asset warehouse, to assist certain travel-related businesses.