How domestic tourism could provide a lifeline for Thailand

GlobalData travel & tourism analyst Amber Barnes discusses the steps that Thailand Tourism is taking to return to normality

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

The impacts from COVID-19 have been felt worldwide with travel restrictions, lockdowns and cancellations of major events. Pre-COVID-19, tourist destinations were predicted to hit 1.6 billion international arrivals globally in 2020, and tourism is a major contributor to the economy, providing 10% to global GDP.

It is critical for destinations, in particular tourism-reliant destinations, to create strategic actions to be able to recover from COVID-19. These must be implemented now otherwise it will be too late.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Case Study: Strategic actions that destinations can take’, reveals that there are destinations already taking action and running marketing campaigns to begin the recovery process. Thai tourism authorities and companies have shown a heavy presence in promoting during the pandemic.

Tourists will have doubts regarding travelling internationally, suggesting promotional activity should concentrate on domestic and regional tourism. Thailand Tourism released an international video to show a sense of community and how the country has become one during the pandemic.

In 2019, Thailand saw 135 million domestic trips, and this is forecast to reach 160 million by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4%. Although there may be a decrease in 2020 due to the pandemic, domestic tourism has the potential to rise with the increased promotional activity, offering a possible economic boon.

Destinations in which lockdowns are being lifted should now be promoting domestic tourism. This is because international tourism is not currently possible, and tourists will want to travel close to home.

Amber Barnes is an analyst in the travel and tourism division at GlobalData. Working to ‘decode the future’, GlobalData provides data, analysis and solutions across various sectors including healthcare, hospitality, technology and financial services.

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