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BLOG No. 2 - WHO STOLE MY LUNCH? - THE QUESTION THAILAND'S TOURISM SECTOR DREAD TO ASK.

March 24, 2021 - Jonathan Wigley, CEO & Founder of AHS

Each country or the leaders of each country have had a challenging dilemma to balance between public health and their economies during the pandemic. For Thailand which is so reliant on international tourism, the risk to the economy has been even greater than many other countries. Now as the world sees a brighter future with vaccines and vaccine rollouts people can look forward to the not too distant future to plan trips for business or leisure. On leisure travel, it is a choice thing and historically Thailand has been a very popular choice with a high percentage of repeat international travellers. Now, these international travellers have additional things to consider when making their decisions on where to travel in the short and mid-term.

- Where am I allowed to travel to?

- What pandemic restrictions will I have if I chose to travel to a certain destination?

- Will I be able to get where I choose to go, will there be transport?

- Do the authorities in those destinations I choose to have a good control/handle on the pandemic?

Now we all know that the solution is vaccine rollouts in each country which impacts the international traveller and the destination of choice. Now, this is where Thailand is not doing well (vaccine rollout) thus restrictions are still strict relating to international inbound travellers as well as firm deadlines of future actions. This impacts short/mid-term demand so airlines will not schedule capacity where they see no demand so international inbound travel is not possible. Yes, Thailand has done well on control and handling the pandemic but not on its recovery measures AKA vaccine rollout.

So basically those countries which have and are having successful vaccine rollouts to their populations will be the logical choices for international leisure travellers in the short/mid-term and there are many of them. Thailand cannot assume that international leisure travellers will wait for Thailand to be ready to welcome them in an easy and unrestricted manner to travel, they will choose from what is available when they want to travel. Airlines will allocate capacity on these routes as there will be demand.

Basically, other countries are not stealing Thailand's tourism sectors lunch - Thailand is almost giving it away sadly. The public/Private sector must cooperate (and be allowed to be) to turbocharge its vaccine rollout NOW!

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