Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thailand's Tourism plunges 22 per cent


Published: 23/07/2009 at 03:07 PM

The tourism industry has suffered its deepest slump in many decades with the number of visitors expected to be down 22 per cent on last year, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand chairman Kongkit Hiranyakij.

It was the biggest plunge in tourism growth in 49 years, he said.

Besides the global economic crisis, the country's continuing political turmoil had contributed to the sharp decline in tourism, Mr Kongkit Hiranyakij said on Thursday.

The expected number of tourist arrivals had been reduced from the expected 14.1 million to 11 million, he said.

The A(H1N1) flu outbreak could make tourism contract by three to four per cent, causing the country to lose up to 200 billion baht of tourism revenue this year, he said.

Last year, Thailand gained 540 billion baht in tourism revenue.

"If the government can solve its political problems and is able to host the Asean meetings successfully, tourism should be revived by the end of this year or the beginning of 2010," Mr Kongkit predicted.

However, he said Thai tourists would help generate an estimated 430 billion baht in revenue this year.

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