Bangkok, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- The arrival of foreign tourists fell by more than 71 percent in Thailand between January and July due to the border closures decreed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to official data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Thailand, one of the main tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, received 6.6 million tourists until July, compared to more than 23 million in the same period of 2019.
Revenues also fell by more than 70 percent, to 332 million baht ($10.56 million) between June and July compared to the same period last year.
Thai authorities, who closed their borders in March, started discussions with other Asian countries over setting up “travel bubbles”, but plans have been halted after new outbreaks in the continent.
The Thai government also extended until Sep. 31 the state of emergency decreed to combat COVID-19, despite registering no local infections for almost three months.
Thailand is among one of the countries with the fewest number of the novel coronavirus cases, with 3,402 confirmed infections and 58 deaths.
The Thai authorities plans to allow foreign tourists to visit for longer stays in Phuket from October, however visitors will have to face two-week quarantine before they are able to travel to the rest of the island.
The country expected tourism to fall this year by as much as 80 percent compared to 2019, when it welcomed 40 million tourists, of which 11 million came from China.
The sector is a major economic engine in Thailand, accounting for between 12 and 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). EFE