BANGKOK, April 27 – The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) said Thailand’s tourism industry will be hit until the third quarter due to political conflicts which have scared away foreign tourists.
ATTA presidnt Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said the tourism industry has not kicked off well in the first quarter of this year due to ongoing political turmoil, with decreasing numbers of group tours from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe. Only Russian arrivals have slightly increased. The effect on the industry may prolong until the third quarter of this year.
He said concerned agencies hope that the political chaos will end before the last quarter, so that tourists could return to Thailand in time for the high season and that could pick up the industry after being hit in the first three quarters.
“At first we thought that the lifting of the state of emergency would help boost the number of tourists, and it did for a certain level but not as it should be,” according to the ATTA president.
He said the news reports of bombings were broadcast worldwide, while safety was the most important issue for those who planned to make a trip.
“It depends solely on the political situation. If it improves, tourism will follow, ” said Mr Sisdivachr.
The ATTA president added that Myanmar is an interesting market for Thailand. He had recently visited the neighbouring country to meet with Myanmar tourism operators to join hands in promoting the tourism industry as the ASEAN Economic Community is approaching in 2015.
Mr Sisdivachr said Thailand will target more high-end Myanmar tourists for medical tourism as there are reports that a large number have entered Thailand for medical checkups and treatments.