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Southeast Asia faces budget deficits if tourist numbers drop 50%

Coronavirus pandemic exposes fragility of tourism-dependent economies

Empty check-in counters at Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand are evidence of the sharp decline in Southeast Asian tourism amid the new coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

TOKYO/BANGKOK -- Cratering demand for travel in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak is battering Southeast Asian economies heavily dependent on tourism.

As cross-border travel slows to a trickle after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Nikkei estimated that eight of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will incur deficits if the number of foreign tourists drops by half for the year.

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