TCC: Emergency law threatens tourism

The invocation of the emergency decree in Bangkok and nearby provinces will damage the country’s image and drive away foreign tourists, Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) chairman Isara Wongkusolkij warned on Wednesday.

In short-term, the number of tourists visiting Thailand will drop substantially because foreign embassies are issuing travel warnings to their citizens, he said, while in the long-term, new foreign investment projects will be delayed.

Mr Isara said the TCC had slashed its gross domestic product growth projection for 2014 from 4-5% to 3-4%. Exports are expected to expand by only 3-4%.

The economic damage caused by prolonged anti-government protests is estimated to stand at 500-700 million baht daily, he added.

The TCC chief said anti-government rallies have been harming the country’s overall economic outlook since the end of last year, adding that the caretaker government's inability to fully mobilise investment projects, due to lack of authority, will also worsen the current economic slowdown.

He said the TCC is concerned about ongoing political turbulence and hopes the government and its opponents will agree to negotiate with one another to solve the ongoing conflict.

Mr Isara said seven private organisations, including the TCC, will temporarily stop acting as a mediator in peace talks between government and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to push for a national reform forum instead.

This is because the private sector's proposals were ignored by both government and the PDRC during the talks, he said.

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