Re-opening Thailand has yet to be priced in. Tourism stocks will strongly rebound if the ‘Bangkok Sandbox’ were to kick off in 4Q21. Domestic tourism recovery will push earnings improvement in 4Q21. All our coverage tourism stocks trade at good entry level, 12-28% discount to their YE19. AOT and AWC will lead the Thailand re-opening play as flagships in Thai tourism sector. MINT and CENTEL are the best plays on upcoming 3Q21 results.
Vaccination speed-up to push Thailand’s re-opening plan
The government plans to re-open Thailand (conditionally welcoming vaccinated foreign tourists without quarantine) by phases; ‘Phuket Sandbox’ in July 2021, ‘Bangkok Sandbox’ targeted for October 2021 together with four tourist destinations (Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Cha-am, and Pattaya), in Figure 5. To achieve the re-opening plan, the COVID-19 vaccination rollout is crucial (at least 70% of Sandbox populations to get their first-doses). In Bangkok, the first-dose vaccination rate has now hit 75% of total population (assumed at 9.8m people) and 25% for full-doses. With the rapid rollout rate in August, Bangkok’s inoculated population is expected to hit 40% by end-Sep 2021 and 47-50% by mid-Oct implying a high likelihood for a ‘Bangkok Sandbox’ launch in late-Oct 2021. AOT, AWC, ERW and CENTEL will enjoy the most benefits.