Tour bus companies in Thailand plan to lay off employees as tourist arrivals have severely dropped due to the Coronavirus outbreak. More than 10,000 drivers and staffers will suffer job losses due to no tourists.
Thai Transportation Operators Association president Wasuchet Sophonsathien says that in the past two months thousands of Chinese tourists had cancelled their trips to Thailand.
Tour bus companies have lost huge amounts of income and have had to park nearly 7,000 tour buses. While more than 10,000 drivers and staffers suffer job losses,” he said.
If the situation is not improved within a month, the operators would have to consider laying off their employees, Wasuchet said.
Tour cancellations had led to hundreds of millions of baht in outstanding debts. The operators would be burdened with over THB2 billion of operation costs, he added. Wasuchet called on the government to offer soft loan for tour operators to help with their short-term liquidity.
Coronavirus has had serious impact on tourism
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Tourism Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan said the coronavirus crisis is expected to subside in the second half of the year. He said coronavirus has had a serious impact on Thailand.
In 2019, Thailand was visited by 38.9 million tourists, with revenue from tourism constituting 18% of gross domestic product (GDP). Before the outbreak of Coronavirus,Thailand’s tourism revenue was expected to contribute at least 20% of GDP in 2020.
“Although the coronavirus 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,” Mr Pipat told the Bangkok Post.
He added that with the onset of summer, the Coronavirus will not be able to withstand the heat. And above all the situation in many countries — including Thailand — will improve.
The government is also preparing to introduce financial measures to help those affected. Tourism operators in the hotel, restaurant, trade or tourism businesses, Mr Pipat added.