Tourist arrivals down on protests

The number of tourist arrivals during the New Year countdown is expected to fall and could continue declining until the Chinese New Year if anti-government protests in Bangkok prolong, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Suwat Sidthilaw, the ministry's permanent secretary, said on Saturday that foreign tourists who planned to visit Thailand may change their destinations to neighbouring countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore.

The Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association is closely monitoring the political situation but has confirmed that it will organise Christmas and New Year's celebrations, Mr Suwat said.

This year, Thailand is expected to welcome 26 million foreign tourists, lower than the target of 28 million. Tourist arrivals are expected to generate about 1.15 trillion to 1.17 trillion baht in revenue, lower than the target of 1.3 trillion baht, he said.

The ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will meet to fine-tune strategies to draw in more tourists after the protests ended.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 17/12/2013 at 02:23 AM
Analysts say Thailand's tourist-friendly image could suffer in the long term, hurting a sector that accounts for 8-10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). "Tourism is showing gradual signs of weakness and past estimates indicate that a 1 percent drop in tourism corresponds to 0.1 percent of GDP," said Christian Lewis, a Southeast Asia specialist at political risk consultants Eurasia Group.
Discussion 2 : 15/12/2013 at 02:50 PM
Dictatorship if TS get the winning hand. Democracy if Suthep can get the reform done.
Discussion 3 : 15/12/2013 at 02:05 PM
In my opinion there is only two ways to go, Democrati or Dictatorship. A quiet clear statement from EU "A peace-fully solution within the institutional framework in compliance with Democratic principles and the rule of law!
Discussion 4 : 14/12/2013 at 05:39 PM
As a person I am who loves to visit Thailand of course naturally hoping the protest will stop immediately for goodness sake. But, Thailand is both a land of smile and protest. It has been many protest in the Thai history record hurting tourist industry. Through my constant visitation to Thailand i have befriended with Thais earnestly. Here come I get to understand their feeling on this political turmoil, even they don't speak out, they choose to be silent to avoid troublesome. But, obviously their smile is bitterly. Have the protesters overtly demo thought of the harm done? Reformation? Must it be done reasonably and constitutionally? Why ?
Discussion 5 : 14/12/2013 at 04:52 PM
Happened to me yesterday, Saam Roi for Thai after me, 600 for me? Do they really think we are fools?
Discussion 6 : 14/12/2013 at 04:18 PM
I don't think the demonstrations will drive tourists away as much does the ill treatment of some people who try to rib off the tourists with what ever way possible, such as some taxi drivers.
Discussion 7 : 14/12/2013 at 04:10 PM
I do agree with this perception, the real drop in tourist numbers has nothing to do with the Thai political turmoil as it does with the manners of some Thais who believe all tourists are money bags!
Discussion 8 : 14/12/2013 at 04:10 PM
If the attacks on tourists and even the murders in Phuket and Pattaya don't frighten off tourists, why should relatively peaceful political protests?
Discussion 9 : 14/12/2013 at 02:45 PM
Wake up Thailand tourists have already stopped coming to Thailand because Thailand is not good value for money anymore you are just treated as a cash cow, I have lived hear for 7 years speak reasonably good Thai and still people want to scam me at every opportunity, that's the real reason people are choosing other destinations to Thailand.
Discussion 10 : 14/12/2013 at 01:10 PM
I would guess that foreign tourists are used to western politics where you don't get attacked for waving the wrong flag.
Discussion 11 : 14/12/2013 at 01:01 PM
Next week we can expect another announcement from TaT that numbers are up .
Discussion 12 : 14/12/2013 at 12:32 PM
Why does the headline say that arrivals are "down" when the story says that they are "expected to fall" and the spokesman says that tourists "may" change their destinations. Poor reporting.
Discussion 13 : 14/12/2013 at 12:28 PM
"Foreign tourists visit Ratchadamnoen Avenue, where anti-government protests are being held." So educated people really do go to these protests.
Discussion 14 : 14/12/2013 at 12:12 PM
The tourists pictured obviously don't read travel advisories.
Discussion 15 : 14/12/2013 at 12:10 PM
Publishing pictures of Foreigners mingling during political gatherings is unhelpful. They are not, or should not, be party to Thai Politics and with the highly charged atmosphere their lives may be put at risk.
Discussion 16 : 14/12/2013 at 11:56 AM
Exactly and especially since SO MANY companies don't claim any income at all. I know that many tour operators work on a cash basis and when you add the mom and pop shops, restaurants, food stalls, etc that don't claim any income the figure would be incredibly high. This protest and the one that will follow when this is a complete failure, will do a LOT more harm to Thailand's tourism than the TAT can imagine. It's not like they have the skills to overcome this.
Discussion 17 : 14/12/2013 at 11:25 AM
If TAT says there will be 2 million fewer visitors, then figure it is really 4 million. Plus, TAT has absolutely no way of knowing how much tourists spend.
Discussion 18 : 14/12/2013 at 11:16 AM
This should surprise no one. People still remember the events of 2010 and will likely decide to holiday elsewhere if the protests continue.

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