TOURISM operators in Thailand reported business as usual in the second quarter, with takings also predicted to hold steady in the third quarter, according to the latest quarterly Thailand Tourism Confidence Index.
The index ranges from 0 to 200, with a score of over 100 meaning better-than-normal business; 100 meaning a normal situation; and below 100, worse than normal. The latest figures, out on Aug 19, showed an index reading of 100 for the second quarter of 2019, with the same projected reading for the third quarter.
The index forecasts that Thailand will welcome 9.7 million international tourists in the third quarter, up 7.06 per cent year on year. It projects that total arrivals will reach 40.06 million international tourists for all of 2019, up 4.65 per cent from the year before.
On the one hand, the global economic slowdown and Thailand's own economic stagnation have dampened demand. Nor has the strength of the Thai baht against a weakening US dollar helped.
On the other hand are measures such as the Thai government's stimulus and tax reduction scheme, as well as a six-month extension of visa-on-arrival fee waivers for citzens of 20 countries, up till October 2019.
A collaboration between the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Council of Thailand and Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Economics, the index draws on a database of over 600 tourism operators as well as government officials from related agencies. It also surveyed 350 international and 350 domestic tourists.
Both tourism operators and tourists agreed that Bangkok and Chiang Mai are facing over-tourism issues. Phuket, however, was highlighted as a destination that can still take more tourists.
The survey also included recommendations to help the tourism industry. One of these was to improve transport infrastructure between major and secondary cities, and improve availability of information on all modes of transportation, including ticket reservations.