The number of tourist arrivals in Thailand fell 44.3% in February from a year earlier, primarily due to the coronavirus epidemic, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Monday this week.
Visitors from China, Thailand’s biggest source of tourists, tumbled 85.3%, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told a meeting of tourism operators.
In the worst-case scenario, the number of foreign tourists may fall to 30 million this year from last year’s 39.8 million, with spending down 22%.
Tourism is crucial to Thailand as spending by foreign visitors amounted to 1.93 trillion baht last year, or 11% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
To make matters worse, The Pattaya News adds, March and April are expected to be the worst hit times, especially April due to most official Songkran celebrations being cancelled, normally one of the largest tourism periods of the year.
Pattaya has not been hit as hard as Phuket or Koh Samui and still has a large contingent of Russian and Eastern European tourists coming.
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