Thailand expects tourism to recover after new year festival hinh anh 1 An information panel on February 20 shows some flights from Chinese cities to Don Mueang airport are cancelled as the coronavirus outbreak affects air travel. (Photo:

Bangkok (VNA) – The acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may subside in the second half of 2020 or earlier, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakan said on February 23, expecting that the country’s tourism would recover after its Songkran New Year festival.

Speaking at an event in Phatthalung province, Pipat stated that the disease has had serious impact on Thailand.

"Although the virus has caused damage to the tourism industry in the first half of the year, I am confident the situation will return to normal in the second half or after the Songkran Festival, when China will likely produce a vaccine against it," he added.

According to him, when the summer comes, coronavirus will not be able to withstand the heat and the situation in many countries, including Thailand, will improve.

He shared that the government is preparing to introduce financial measures to help disease-affected businesses.

Thailand served 38.9 million foreign tourists last year, with revenue from tourism constituting 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The government predicted that the tourism sector may lose 30 percent of the number of Chinese visitors in the first quarter, and even 50 percent in the second quarter if the disease remains a threat. In 2019, spending of Chinese tourists reached 18 billion USD, accounting for one third of the total expenditures by foreign tourists in Thailand.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand also forecast that the number of international holiday-makers to the country can decrease by 5 million this year, resulting in economic loss of 500 billion THB (15.7 billion USD)./.