Political unrest severely affects foreign tourist arrivals


Prolonged political turmoil will negatively impact the tourism industry which will possibly lose 400,000 foreign visitors this month, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

In its assessment of the country’s tourism in 2013-2014, the TCT said the number of visitors from China and Russia – Thailand’s two major markets – have dropped by 25-30 per cent, mainly in Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Cha-am.

The northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, however, enjoyed growth from the middle of last year compared to other regions in the country.

Most visitors to the North were from China, Europe and the US, reported the TCT, adding that dropping temperature since last month has attracted more tourists.

It said 40 countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens, suggesting them not to go close to demonstration sites while some countries have elevated their warnings against visiting Bangkok since January 1.

TCT president, Piyamarn Techapaiboon, said tourism during New Year celebrations was not as active as usual, while tourism operators in several provinces have been forced to adjust their marketing strategies.

She said tourism in Thailand has become volatile in light of the political stalemate and declining trends in the region while operators have to place more emphasis on promoting new destinations in the provinces.

The original prediction of 2.5 million arrivals this month, which coincides with the Chinese New Year, may be short by 400,000 persons, and revenue will also decrease by about Bt18 billion, she said.