Thailand's tourism sector anticipates gloomy future hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo:AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on July 27 that, in 2021, the country's tourism industry is experiencing its worst scenario as the number of international visitors may only reach 1 million.

Meanwhile, if the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen, forcing the government to extend the lockdown order by three months, the number of domestic holidaymakers may drop to 50-60 million.

Thailand has reopened its doors to vaccinated international visitors through the "Phuket Sandbox" and "Samui Plus" programmes, but it is estimated to welcome only 1 million tourist arrivals in 2021, a decrease of 82 percent compared to 6.7 million arrivals in 2020.

TAT Director-General Yuthasak Supasorn said the country expected to welcome 3 million international visitors, but the real figure may be much lower than that. The tourism sector may meet only 30 percent of the 85 billion baht (2.5 billion USD) target revenue, a 74 percent decrease compared to 2020.

Domestic tourism is also likely to fall short of its 2021 target of 100 million trips. However, due to a severe outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic leading to lockdown and travel restrictions in many key destinations, the number of domestic trips may be lower than expected.

Yuthasak added that before the pandemic broke out, it is estimated that Thai tourists made an average of 10 million trips per month, but in the first five months of this year, the number only stood at 23.6 million trips. Yuthasak said that the recovery of tourism this year and in 2022 largely depends on the epidemic situation domestically and internationally as well as the travel regulations of each country.

According to TAT's forecast, total tourism revenue in 2021 could fall 23 percent to 625 billion baht, including 14 percent from international markets through "sandbox" initiatives and 86 percent from domestic tourism.

Meanwhile, Thailand has set a minimum target of 10 million international arrivals in 2022, and 122 million domestic trips. As the pandemic has been developing complicatedly and many countries have been restricting cross-border travel, revenue from international tourism is expected to be 625 billion baht, while tourism domestic will contribute 680 billion baht.

On July 27, Thailand recorded 14,150 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 526,828. The country also recorded 118 deaths, raising the number of fatalities to 4,264./.