Thai tourism doomed by political turmoil

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BANGKOK, Nov 28 – Thailand’s tourism will be battered by the current political unrest with a predicted decline by 10 per cent in the final quarter of the year, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

TCT president Piyamarn Techapaiboon said foreign tourists are bypassing Bangkok and travelling directly to resort towns such as Pattaya and Phuket and many of them will possibly delay their trips to Thailand if the political situation remains tense.

She said the protesters’ seizures of government complexes have also affected businesses catering to seminar groups which have to be postponed.

Kasian Watanachaopisut, Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association president, said Chinese tourists have delayed their trips to Thailand to avoid political violence but most tour groups continued with their original schedules.

Some of their travel routes have been adjusted such as taking boats instead of buses to the Emerald Buddha Temple, he said.

He said about 300,000 Chinese tourists should have visited Thailand this month, a drop by 40,000-50,000 persons from the same month of last year, while the number should rise to 500,000 people next month.

Chinese visitors to Thailand should reach at least four million people this year, he said, adding that the slight drop was due to restrictions in China, not the political unrest.