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News: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry
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  1. #1
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    Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    By Suchat Sritama
    THE NATION
    Published on April 11, 2009

    A Japanese tour group has cancelled a 300-room booking in Bangkok out of concern about political instability.

    Leading tourism-business operators fear more cancellations, especially now that 14 countries have issued travel warnings for Thailand.

    Thai Hotels Association president Prakit Chinamourphong said his group was gathering information on possible cancellations at all hotels nationwide after the Japanese group cancelled its reservation at the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 22 for next month. The number of foreign tourists for Songkran is expected to be down 30-40 per cent from last year.

    "What's more worrying is we plan to welcome 50,000 Chinese tourists for May Day plus other visitors attending meetings slated for later this year," he said.

    Some 6,000 delegates are scheduled to travel here for a medical and nutrition conference and more than 20,000 for a Lion's Club function.

    The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan had advised their citizens to avoid areas where protesters were gathering. Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Singapore have also alerted their citizens to potential risks.

    TAT executives held an urgent meeting yesterday and reopened their "war room" to update foreign tourists about the political situation. Offices abroad have been asked to summarise the impact on foreign markets every two days for the tourism and sports minister.

    Pensuda Praiaram, deputy governor for administration, admitted the chaos would lead to a lower number of Songkran revellers in the greater Bangkok area, against earlier expectations of a 30- to 40-per-cent increase. However, upcountry celebrations may not be affected.

    Advance bookings for hotels on Khao San Road, a major destination for Songkran revellers, is down to 20 per cent of capacity, from 95 per cent before the rally. Some 200,000 are expected to spend Bt300 million there.

    Association of Thai Travel Agents president Apichart Sankary said most foreign tourists had now cancelled Bangkok city tours and would head upcountry instead. This will lead to a loss of Bt6 million a day for the city's tourism business. Some 5,000 foreign tourists are expected to take Bangkok tours on each of the three Songkran days, down from 10,000 in the previous years. The tours costs Bt1,200 per head per day.

    Prakit said that with the number of foreign guests declining, hotels across the nation had been closing their restaurants temporarily since early this month, but they are hopeful the situation will improve after the long holiday. and allow them to resume normal operations.

    Le Meridien Chiang Mai has decided to close three newly opened restaurants.

  2. #2
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    Re: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    Thai tourism to lose at least Bt200 billion after political chaos
    By The Nation

    Thailand's tourism industry will lose at least Bt200 billion of revenue this year, as the consequences of political unrest sparked by both yellow and red-shirted protesters, said Kongkrit Hiranyakit, chairman of the Tourism Council of Thailand. "After the Suvarnabhumi Airport closure (in December), tourism business operators expected the industry to be affected for 6-9 months. The magnitude of damage from the invasion into the Asean Summit meeting venue would also give a similar result," he said in an interview with Thai PBS.

    He noted that the invasion concerns the safety of leaders of 15 nations, which are key markets. The number of tourists from these countries is expected to account for 8.5 million, or 60 per cent of target. The tourists however will question on security issue, following the actions that affected the security of their leaders. Therefore, though the emergency decree takes effect only in Chon Buri, but as Pattaya is a world-class destination, it would be difficult for the government to come up with a good explanation. And this would affect the tourism industry nationwide.

    "Some tourists have showed their desire to leave the country, on fear that the protesters may continue to block the airport like last year. Those incoming tourists have also questioned on security issue and demanded cancellation," he said.

    Kongkrit is now concerned with the financial conditions of tourism business operators, which could worsen. Many would shut down businesses with the disapperance of tourists, aside from liquidity shortages, he said.

    "So far, we have urged both yellow and red shirts to stay calm. Now. I think that's not enough. Business operators are pondering some actions, to tell them that both sides could no longer claim that their actions are for the future sake to the nation," he noted.

    While the airport shutdown was expected to result in loss of Bt120 billion this year, the red shirts' action would contribute at least Bt100 billion. This year's tourism revenue target is set at Bt500 billion.

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    Re: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    Well my elderly mother was fine, when she visited Bangkok a few weeks ago when travelling Aboard the Queen Mary II, Maybe this a good time to travel to Thailand, there should be plenty of cheap hotel rooms available and the protesters don't bother me, just avoid these protesting areas, Thailand is a big place.

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    Re: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    Quote Originally Posted by paul_au View Post
    Well my elderly mother was fine, when she visited Bangkok a few weeks ago when travelling Aboard the Queen Mary II, Maybe this a good time to travel to Thailand, there should be plenty of cheap hotel rooms available and the protesters don't bother me, just avoid these protesting areas, Thailand is a big place.
    Most countries travel advisories would not agree.

    Glad your mum enjoyed her trip and you are right avoid the trouble areas.

    The problem though is that the effects can spread. For example are you aware that Hua Lampong was closed last night. No problem if you didn't need to take a train but one would have a different perspective on this if one was persoanlly involved atb the station

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    Re: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    Will hotels lower their rates? Cos i'm still adamant in going there this coming july and will gladly take any discounts they might offer now if i book early.

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    Re: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    Quote Originally Posted by peacerichard View Post
    Most countries travel advisories would not agree.

    Glad your mum enjoyed her trip and you are right avoid the trouble areas.

    The problem though is that the effects can spread. For example are you aware that Hua Lampong was closed last night. No problem if you didn't need to take a train but one would have a different perspective on this if one was persoanlly involved atb the station
    I have to agree. While I still think most tourists have nothing to worry about as no one will target them, at the same time I definitely would not want to be around an area where hostilities are apparent. It may be fine in one area but when people are shooting each other, who knows how bad it will escalate.

    Not to mention that while your personal safety may be fine, if travel into and out of Thailand is restricted like last time, then it is some big problems. I've read stories of tourists that had to pay thousands of dollars just to fly back home, for extra days spent in Thailand, another flight, missing work days, etc. Don't want to deal with that potential headache.

    I have no problems with waiting it out.
    Last edited by InterestedGuy08; 13-04-09 at 11:23 PM.

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    Re: Political unrest takes its toll on tourist industry

    I think a majority of tourists just see the 5 mins clip in their country News and decide to go someone else. The clip yesterday in the Swedish news showed burning busses, burning tires, advancing soldiers, masked ppl throwing rocks and ofc soldiers shooting as well.

    News reporters did not mention it was just a few areas in the central Bkk

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