Thailand is a representative tourism giant of Southeast Asia. The country has a beautiful natural environment represented by Phuket and Chiang Mai and cultural heritage and has been loved by tourists from all over the world thanks to its night markets and spectacular performances in Bangkok and Pattaya. However, due to COVID-19 that came without notice, there have been unimaginable changes in the landscape of Thailand where previously was overcrowded with tourists.
As the country controlled the entry to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the tourist business of the country that accounted for most of Thailand’s GDP has collapsed, and people who lost their jobs in Bangkok returned to rural areas. As such, stores and famous places in downtown Bangkok that were overcrowded with tourists closed doors and only dark shadows and silence linger now in the streets that were lit up with colorful lights until late at night.
The morning of Thailand, a Buddhist country starts with the parade of monks who go out into the streets or villages and obtain foods for ‘mendicancy and offering’. The long parade of monks holding a begging bowl barefoot is not much different from before, but you can easily see them wearing masks and even face shields due to COVID-19. As there are not many open stores compared to before, the merchandisers who make an offering also have reduced a lot. However, the eagerness of those who make an offering wishing the recovery from COVID-19 is closer to our hearts.
COVID-19 has brought about lots of changes to the daily life of Thailand people. As the Thai government proclaimed a state of emergency to prevent the spread of the pandemic and took lockdown measures in major cities, public facilities except for convenience stores/supermarkets and drug stores, restaurants and department stores stopped their operation, and thanks to that, delivery services, such as Grab, Lineman, and Food Panda, has benefited a lot.
Another change is that Thailand people have started to show their hidden cooking skills. Thailand has a tropical climate, and thus tropical nights continue for a long time throughout the year. Moreover, as the foods sold in markets and restaurants are various and low-priced, Thailand people rarely cook at home unless there is a special occasion. However, as buying food became difficult due to the lockdown measures and social distancing, more and more Thai employees cook and take a packed lunch to this branch office. Before COVID-19, the company cafeteria was noisy, with employees seated together and having meals and coffee during lunchtime. However, eating packed lunch alone at their seat became common at some point.
As tourism suffered a heavy blow due to COVID-19, the overall economic situation of Thailand became more difficult. However, business conditions have greatly improved as automotive and home appliance industries recovered, POSCO-TCS operated stably, and aggressive marketing campaigns were executed. POSCO-TCS practices a variety of corporate citizen activities, hoping that the steel market condition and the entire economy of Thailand has recovered and thus Thailand people take smile back. POSCO-TCS leads saving regional farmhouses and environment improvement by making fertilizers with sludge generated during the manufacturing process, which was an idea of its employees, and supplying them to regional farmhouses. Also, it delivered masks, protective clothes, and lunch boxes to the medical staff at the forefront of COVID-19. And recently, POSCO employees in Thailand donated goods, including food with donation money from 1% Sharing for flood victims in Thailand.