Tourist-related revenue of Thailand's mobile operator AIS plunged 43%

14, May. 2020

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BANGKOK, NNA - Reflective of Thailand's staggeringly huge tourism losses inflicted by the coronavirus menace, the country's largest mobile operator saw tourist-related revenues nosediving 43 percent in the first quarter of 2020.

Earnings from international roaming service and prepaid SIM suffered steep falls as millions of foreigners stayed away from the kingdom, said Advanced Info Service Plc. (AIS)

Essential mobile services popularly used by tourists normally saw losses of 1.1 billion baht ($34 million) for prepaid SIM and 345 million baht for international roaming and call services, the telecom company reported on Tuesday.

The first quarter saw tourist numbers plunged by 38.1 percent or a loss of 4.1 million visitors, according to the Ministry of Sports and Tourism.

After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China spread to the region and more places around the world in the first few months, countries enforced restrictions on international travel and local lockdowns that have continued to drag on though with some easing now.

So, the impact on the second quarter would be much greater. Intouch Holdings Plc., the parent company of AIS expects full quarter impact from the economic slowdown in the second quarter .) On Monday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) estimated that only 14 million to 16 million foreign visitors would visit the kingdom this year, down sharply from the 33.8 million projected in March.

Overall, AIS revenue for the first three months amounted to 428 billion baht, or a projected loss of 4.1 billion baht, compared to last year.

On the upside, the shutdowns in Thailand which forced many people to work from home led to demand for non-mobile services such as extended data service, ICT solutions and cloud going up by 10 percent, while fixed broadband increased by 26 percent.

AIS customers are being served online as their shops have been ordered to remain closed like many others. Private sector leaders have appealed to the government to lift curbs on more businesses especially those related to tourism and supply chains.

Only essential businesses such as restaurants and hair salons have been allowed to resumed operations since May 3. Wednesday, Thailand reported no new cases of Covid-19 infection for the first time since Mar 9.