Thailand may only see foreign tourist numbers return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024. The pre-pandemic number of 40 million tourist arrivals will take quite a few years to achieve according to an official statement by the Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. For 2021, Thailand is expecting eight million foreign visitors as the country begins to show signs of recovery after significant damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by XinhuaNet.
Thailand’s economy has faced severe damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Thailand’s economy contracted 6.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier after slumping 12.1 percent in the prior quarter.Tourism has especially been hit due to global air restrictions and the shut-down of international borders. The finance minister has said that he expects the economy to take two years to recover. However, tourism will take four years to reach its pre-pandemic levels of glory. He also added that if the COVID-19 vaccine proves its efficacy then global tourism will be significantly boosted. This in turn will help the tourism industry in Thailand.
The country has recently begun to receive a limited number of tourists under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) program with mandatory quarantine requirements. The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects foreign tourist numbers to plunge to 6.7 million this year from 39.8 million in 2019 before recovering to 20.5 million next year.