By Ian Neuabuer
Tourism operators in Thailand are urging travellers to rethink cancelling visiting the Southeast Asian nation following the imposition of a state of emergency in Bangkok this week.
“Many of Thailand’s prospective visitors are understandably reluctant to travel when they hear about a state of emergency being declared and see images of violent clashes in media reports,” said Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO, Peter de Jong. The reality, however, is that life is continuing as normal in Bangkok and Thailand and that, as of today (September 3) there is minimal threat to the safety of visitors to the Kingdom.”
Foreign arrivals in Thailand have fallen 30 per cent below average due to the political turmoil that has seen mass protests, blocked access to key buildings and roads near Bangkok’s Government House, the temporary closure of regional airports, the deployment of armed forces and the death of one Thai national involved in the protests.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a travel warning for Australians in Thailand despite reports that all tourism facilities and service are operating normally in Thailand and the disquiet is limited to a small area.
Thailand experiences heavy rainfall in September and the month is traditionally the low season for international visitors. Tourism operators are therefore hopeful damage to the sector will be minimal and the country’s reputation as a safe destination for travel will be quickly restored.
Tourism accounts for approximately six per cent of the Thai economy and was forecast to earn the country $25 billion in revenue this year. The crisis is costing the industry an estimated $14 million a day in lost revenue, the Association of Thai Travel Agents told the Bangkok Post.