Thai capital Bangkok quiet as travel restrictions remain

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1eko97gyn2btydg/VRP39461.mp4?dl=0

Footage shows the unusually quiet scenes in the centre of the Thai capital Bangkok today (June 14) as Covid-19 continues to dampen the country’s economy despite a mass vaccine rollout starting.

The Sukhumvit Road area of the city – home to bars and restaurants – was packed with tourists before the pandemic erupted in March 2022 and travel restrictions were imposed.

Ministers are yet to lift a ban on Thailand re-opening, with only shopping malls and restaurants allowed to have members of the public until 9pm each day.

Industry chiefs hope that a vaccine roll-out which started last week – but was later delayed – will lead to a gradual easing of measures. 

Thailand has recorded 199,264 Covid-19 cases and 1,466 deaths as of June 14. Plans to re-open the country to tourists involve ‘sandbox’ quarantine areas where vaccinated visitors can stay while roaming around beaches and bars for 14 days.

However, economists fear that it could be up to five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels. 

Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen. 

Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.