Thailand is finding ways to cope with massive financial setbacks due to its lack of Chinese tourists amid the coronavirus epidemic, as the government announces a series of measures to alleviate affected businesses.
Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said on Monday that the Government Savings Bank would offer eased loan interest rates to Thai businesses affected by the coronavirus.
Businesses affected by the coronavirus are tourism-related businesses, hotels, restaurants, transportation services, and money exchange services, among others.
Tourism is a major earner for Thailand, accounting for more than 10 per cent of its economy.
However, the South-East Asian country has seen a surge in the number of Chinese tourists in recent years.
In spite of the government’s reluctance to impose travel restrictions on visitors from mainland China, the country is already expected to lose around 10 million dollars in revenue this year due to the outbreak, according to the Tourism Ministry.
Tourism Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said earlier this month that the number of Chinese tourists in February is forecast to decrease by around 80-85 per cent, from 30,000 visitors a day to 3,000.
The financial repercussions caused by the coronavirus have prompted the government to make efforts to woo back Chinese tourists.
Traisulee Traisoranakul, deputy government spokeswoman said on Sunday that the tourism ministry would seek approval from the Cabinet to issue free visas to tourists from China and India.
Officials hope this will boost tourism in the second quarter of the year, when the country observes Songkran, a holiday spanning roughly three days that is celebrated by nationwide water fights.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Emmanuel Yashim