With an estimate of 80% of inbound travel companies closing, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) is asking the government to allow COVID-19 vaccinated visitors to visit the country without quarantine in the third quarter to boost demand.
Vichit Prakobgosol, president of ATTA, said around 30% of 10,000 registered inbound tourism companies have shut permanently, while half have stopped their operations temporarily because Thailand cannot receive international visitors.
Only 20% of inbound operators remain in business by pivoting to the domestic market, which is ravaged by the new spike in local transmissions.
As many countries have started mass vaccination programmes, operators in Thailand support the idea of exempting those from quarantine who are vaccinated against COVID-19.
He said the number of people who receive jabs in the first half this year may exceed 1 billion globally, including potential tourists from China and Southeast Asia.
The government has to start planning safe entry guidelines, such as requiring a swab test on arrival or a tracking application.