TAT predicts B40bn loss

A total of 48 countries have issued travel warnings to tourists intending to visit Thailand on concerns over possible political violence, Sukree Sithivanich, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said on Saturday.

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The prolonged political turbulence had severely affected the tourism related industries. The sector’s damage is estimated at about 30-40 billion baht in lost revenue, he said.

Mr Sukree said Laos is the latest country to have issued travel warning for its citizen to avoid travelling to Thailand, particularly the areas where the emergency decree is imposed and the rally sites of the anti-government protesters.

Several countries, including Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, had intensified their warnings by advising tourists to delay their trip to Thailand on Feb 1 and 2, because there could be violent confrontation between the anti-election protesters and state authorities, he said.

They also warned their citizens in Thailand to refrain from travelling to the rally sites or the polling stations. Hong Kong and Taiwan had warned their people to avoid travelling to Bangkok at this time, he added.

Mr Sukree projected that the continuing anti-government protest and Bangkok shutdown would trim the number of foreign tourists by 8-10% from the set target for 2014 at 28.1 million.

It is estimated that they country’s tourism income would disappear by between 30 billion and 40 billion baht this year, he said.

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