Nationwide Tourism Survey Pinpoints Biggest Concerns For Operators

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According to a Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) survey, tourism operators have pinpointed their biggest concerns and most urgent needs during the pandemic, with a reduction in operating costs considered to be essential.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the authority talked with the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) about a plan to safeguard jobs in the tourism industry and maintain purchasing power to support the economy.

A survey was conducted during 10th – 12th January among 1,884 tourism-related operators nationwide, of which 65% were small and medium-sized enterprises valued from less than 5 million baht to 25 million.

After having to deal with the resurgence of the pandemic, tourism operators said the aid measures aimed at cost reduction were the most important factor (92.6%), comprising the co-payment scheme to help subsidise tourism workers’ monthly salary and the lowering of electricity and water bills.

A debt holiday was requested by 81.2% of tourism operators, with the majority wanting the waiver to last for 19-24 months.

Mr Supasorn said 79.9% of operators also sought lower interest rates and the suspension of principal payments.

Some 58.1% indicated preferable interest rates should fall between 1-2.99%.

However, some operators have already lost hope of obtaining soft loans as only 78.8% said they wanted to receive financial aid from the government. Of those who still want to secure soft loans, 70.9% asked for a “no guarantor” loan, while 31.6% requested a credit limit of between 1-5 million baht.

The majority of the respondents were from Phuket (20.7%), followed by Bangkok (12.5%), Chiang Mai (9.5%), Surat Thani (7.96%), Krabi (6.26%) and Chon Buri (4.35%).

The survey showed 65.3% of respondents were still operating their businesses, while 34.7% remained closed due to insufficient income.

Some 44.4% of respondents were hoteliers, followed by travel companies (23.8%), restaurants (10.4%), rental businesses (6.95%), souvenir shops (4.3%), spas (2.71%), theme parks (2.18%), entertainment venues (0.53%), airlines (0.16%) and others (4.62%).

“We have to prioritise operators’ needs and help them get through the current difficulties, even though the TAT is mainly responsible for marketing,” Mr Supasorn said.

The results are to be shared with the TAT’s committee boards on 27th January in an effort to find possible solutions to support tourism operators.

He said during the meeting with TCT, operators also suggested a labour bank in a bid to avoid more job losses in the tourism sector.