Monday, May 17, 2010

Tourist arrivals in Thailand down

By Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai (18.05.2010)

According to the latest news on, the intensifying political violence has pounded the country's tourist industry, with arrivals down by about one third, Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa said on Tuesday.

The number of incoming passengers at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport had dwindled from an average 30,000 to 20,000 passengers a day, as foreigners were concerned about the widespread chaos and the security situation, Mr Chumpol said.

He said 19 countries had warned their people to avoid visiting Thailand at this time.

"The number of tourists has dropped considerably," the minister said. "The government was hoping that tourism in the South would see a boost, but it is now more difficult as foreigners think that the unrest is occurring nationwide."

On the measures to revive the tourism sector after the political situation stabilises, he said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has prepared plans to stimulate tourism in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

When the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters seized airports in late 2008, the TAT was able to raise the tourist arrivals from 10 million to 14 million that year after it was over, the minister said.

"The government hopes this year's tourist arrivals will reach the target with the time remaining," he said.

Mr Chumpol refused to comment on whether the government would last until the end of this year.

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