CityNews – More than a month of anti-government protests in Thailand has negatively affected the influx of tourists, despite many tourism agencies’ reassurances and predictions of high visitors.
Tourism Council of Thailand’s (TCT) December report shows that inbound tour bookings from other parts of Asia have decreased by around 20%. Tour groups have been moving their trips to other countries, and 30% of visitors came into Thailand via Bangkok, but then immediately diverted their travels to other provinces. Forward bookings were also slowed by 30%.
The TCT said that tourism would not prosper as long as there were security and safety concerns in Bangkok. The Thai Ministry of Finance also warned that their reports suggested a large number of tourists have decided against visiting Thailand as opposed to other destinations, and that this could put a serious dent in the country’s future economic growth.
Tourism and its related industries make up around 15% of Thailand’s GDP, which is plagued by debt and little confidence in the economy. Thailand’s earnings from tourism fell by US $124 million during the first half of December, due to 400,000 international and 600,000 domestic travellers shelving their travel plans.
However, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) still expects the same high revenues it previously predicted, saying they believe as many as 300,000 holidaymakers will visit Bangkok over the New Year. The North seems to be the most popular area, where it is expected that 690,000 people will visit during the festive season. The TAT says this will bring in at least 2 billion baht in revenue, and doesn’t believe that the numbers of international flights are declining.