Thailand had no foreign tourists in April after closing borders

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BANGKOK – Thailand received no or related spending in after its and banning most incoming international flights to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Visitors stranded in the country because of lockdowns around the world were not counted in the numbers, the Tourism Ministry noted in data released on Friday (May 29) in Bangkok. There were almost 3.2 million arrivals in the same month last year, generating receipts of 146 billion baht (S$6.5 billion).

The latest report is the first to show a slump to zero in data compiled by Bloomberg stretching back to the 1990s. Incoming international flights are banned through June 30 and it remains unclear whether visitors will be willing or able to rush back when curbs are lifted.

Tourism accounted for about a fifth of gross domestic product before the pandemic, as holidaymakers flocked to sample azure waters, sandy beaches, gastronomic delights and Bangkok’s sometimes infamous nightlife. Chinese visitors were the biggest source of foreign receipts.

The crash in the industry is one reason why the economy is now on course for its worst contraction in about two decades.

The nation remains under a state of emergency but is loosening a partial lockdown in stages to kick-start its economy after virus cases dwindled. Some provinces have allowed hotels to open their doors again, though domestic tourism is sputtering because of Covid-19 restrictions.

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