Friday, April 24, 2009

Tourism revenue to drop by 35% in 2009: Thailand

Thailand is predicting that it will see tourism revenue drop by 35% or THB190 billion (US$5.3 billion) for the full year, as its economic woes are compounded by the impact of political demonstrations.

In a report released Wednesday by the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), it was expected that full year tourism revenue will only reach THB350 billion, down from the THB540 billion achieved in 2008.

This was largely due to international traveller arrival expectations of only 10.9 million, down 22% from 2008’s achievement of 14.1 million arrivals.

If revenue and visitor numbers fall by that much the TCT estimates that up to 275,000 travel industry related jobs could be lost.

So for the industry to better whether the storm, the TCT has recommended 17 different initiatives set to stimulate travel including dropping visa fees, landing fees at lowering airports, enhancing the image of Thailand through PR initiatives, and establishing an ASEAN forum to strengthen relationships with key partners in the region.

An ASEAN meeting planned for Pattaya was cancelled after anti-government protestors stormed the hotel where the meetings were to be held.

The Thailand foreign ministry is also working hard to negotiate with neighbours who still have travel warnings placed on the country to change their stance. Currently 22 countries are still warning its nationals about travel to Thailand.

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital has been plagued with protests held by supporters of two different parties, with Royalists dubbed the “yellow-shirts” and former Taksin supporters dubbed the “Red Shirts”.

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