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Thailand’s Tour Operators Shift Business Plan Due to Coronavirus

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Facing the loss of nearly all Chinese tourists, Thai tour operators have shifted their business plan to focus on domestic market.

Some of the 160 members of the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association have already suspended their operations because of the coronavirus outbreak. Its a gloomy outlook for tourism industry, President of the Association Chanaphan Kaewklachaiwut said on Thursday.

Chanaphan said the tour operators had to adjust their business plan by looking at other markets and offering more domestic tour packages for Thai customers.

Thailand’s previously-robust tourism industry relied heavily on Chinese tourists. Last year, Chinese tourist arrivals increased by 4.4 percent to 10.99 million. The Thai government expects overall tourist arrivals to plunge by 50 percent in the first half of 2020

Meanwhile, The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) forecasts industrial sectors will be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Thirteen industrial sectors are suffering from the virus outbreak: saw mills, jewels, rubber, furniture, cosmetics, auto parts, petrochemicals, cars, refineries, chemicals, plastics, electronics and herbal products.

Chinese importers will postpone their purchase orders while Thai manufacturers cannot import raw materials from China, the Bangkok Post reports.

Fewer Chinese tourists means lower income for tour operators

Business operators have witnessed a huge impact from the coronavirus outbreak. Especially tourism and export sectors. The economic impact from the virus resulted in low purchasing power. As did a widespread drought, and the FTI plans to cut its GDP projection for 2020.

The FTI reported the Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in January increased slightly to 92.2 points from 91.7 in December. Thanks to massive sales of products to prevent infection. The index is still below the 100-point benchmark, meaning business sentiment is low.

Operators are still concerned about the delay of the fiscal 2020 budget and the resulting impacts on budget disbursement. Also state investment and new employment.

FTI forecasts the TISI will stand at 99.4 over the next three months. Down from an outlook of 100.1 as operators fret about sentiment.