Unrest, flood cut tourist arrivals in Thailand

Bangkok, November 28:

Ongoing unrest and recent flooding in southern Thailand have cut foreign tourist arrivals and the sector will likely miss its revenue targets for the year, industry officials said. Destinations in southern Thailand generate 40 per cent of the country’s total tourism revenue, said Charoen Wangananont, deputy vice president of the Thai Travel Agents Association. But last week’s flooding, which devastated parts of the south and inundated the resort island of Koh Samui, stranding tourists and causing millions of dollars in damage, badly hurt the industry during its most profitable months.

Charoen said tourism officials feared a five per cent drop in revenue from the projected about $6.5 billion. He said tourist arrivals might only reach 11 million this year, down from a projected 13 million, as the numbers of Western visitors dropped sharply. Charoen warned that next year’s outlook looked equally pessimistic given the ongoing Islamic insurgency in Thailand’s three Muslim-majority southern provinces.