In the last couple of weeks, the Thai government and the Thai Tourism Minister have spent their time talking about ‘travel bubbles’ when it comes to reviving the country’s failing tourism industry. An industry that brings in up to 21% of Thailand’s GDP every year.
Even up until yesterday representatives of the Thai tourism industry were talking about ‘travel bubbles’ with countries like Japan, South Korea and China.
Bubbles that would allow a small number of international tourists to return to the country some time in August, if they were willing to spend their vacations on five Thai islands.
Now, it seems, those travel bubbles have fallen by the wayside as well as Thailand’s government continues to allow its panic over COVID-19 to eclipse what it should be worrying about.
Thailand having the worst performing economy in Asia and one that is continuing to disintegrate every day.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), this is due to those so-called ‘safer countries’ that would be allowed to be included in Thailand’s travel bubble plan now having a resurgence in cases of COVID-19 and, therefore, not being particularly ‘safe’ at all.
CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop said the travel bubble plan is now being put on hold and will be revisited in coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Thailand will remain shutdown to international tourists for the foreseeable future.
Instead, Mr. Chula is repeating the same tired government line — that domestic tourism will be what helps heal Thailand’s ailing tourism industry.
Domestic tourism in a country with record unemployment, with millions more people expected to be laid off in coming weeks and months as businesses are forced to close due to millions of international tourists not able to visit the country, and a Thai baht that is causing exports to also plummet.
If it wasn’t so sad, and if you didn’t care so much that millions of low-income Thais are in for a world of suffering in coming months with deaths in Thailand due to job loss and subsequent economic hardship and even suicide likely to increase, you would laugh at the naivete and unwillingness of the Thai government to even remotely deal with the coming reality.