Thai tourism industry may not recover until 2026

26 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

BANGKOK: It could take another five years before tourism revives fully in Thailand - an ominous sign for one of the most tourism-dependent economies in the world.

The sector, which contributed about one-fifth of Thailand’s economy before the pandemic, isn’t expected to return to normal until 2026, the National Economic and Social Development Council said Monday, citing the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The delayed return - which some analysts had expected within two years - will impact more than seven million workers, some of whom may need to find jobs in other fields, the council said, report agencies.

Thailand welcomed nearly 40 million visitors in 2019 - the last year before the pandemic - earning US$60 billion in revenue. The Southeast Asian nation, which closed its borders to most foreign visitors in March 2020, is trying to gradually reopen some destinations to vaccinated visitors with the economy struggling to gain traction.