Korean, Chinese tourists nearly disappear; Russians drop 20% amid Bangkok protests: TAT


Hong Kong and South Korean tourists have nearly disappeared from Pattaya while Russian arrivals are down 20 percent due to protracted anti-government protests in Bangkok, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said.

Speaking at the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association’s Dec. 18 meeting at the Grand Sole Hotel, TAT Pattaya Director Auttaphol Wannakijsaid the organization has abandoned projections that 4-5 million Chinese would visit Thailand this year in the face of protests that have persisted despite the dissolution of Parliament and plans for new elections.

Auttaphol Wannakij, director of TAT’s Pattaya office.Auttaphol Wannakij, director of TAT’s Pattaya office.

TAT is monitoring closely tourist arrivals by all Europeans, but said the Russian business is already down 20 percent due mostly to official government travel warnings that are prohibiting Russian travel agents from offering package tours.

As for China and Hong Kong, the rise of discount airlines in China may be diverting holiday business away from Thailand, Auttaphol said.

The TAT director said, however, that local governments are still organizing promotions to attract tourists and that the year-end holidays will lead at least a temporary resurgence. Auttaphol said he remained confident that for all of 2013, Pattaya will have netted 1 billion baht in tourist-related revenue.