Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time to Plan Your Trip to Thailand - Tourism Drops 22%

Thaivisa citing the Bangkok Post reports:

The tourism industry has hit a 49-year low and is expected to plunge by 22 per cent this year, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand.

With the airport shut down last year, more violent demonstrations this year, and H1N1 rates among the highest in Asia, it's no wonder that tourists are avoiding Thailand.

But lowest in 49 years? There were no tourists 49 years ago. When I went to Phuket in 1969, there were only a couple of two story Thai hotels downtown. The Erawan Hotel, now a gazillion story super hotel in the middle of Bangkok traffic, was a delightfully sleepy, but elegant, two story hotel with a wonderful lunch by the pool.

OK, there were some tourists back then, but I saw more tourists in my three months in Chiang Mai this year than I did in three years in Thailand in the '60s. Even if they count the US soldiers on R&R from Vietnam as tourists.

It just couldn't be right, so I checked the Bangkok Post article:

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.

Now that's a totally different story. "Biggest drop in tourism growth" is a lot different from 'tourism hits 49 year low."

See how misinformation starts to flow?

In any case, there will be a lot of empty hotel rooms which means a lot of great rates. Time to check on line or with your travel agent.


  1. Yesterday the first Hungarian infected with H1N1 died. For a long time Hungary was able to prevent H1N1 but when tourism season started our method weren't efficient enough and by now we have like 30-40 people who got infected but most of them survived the disease.

  2. This article was in the western press. Please warn your customers to take care when you take them to the airport.

    "A businessman was detained in Bangkok for stealing a box of cigarettes in a duty-free shop in Bangkok International Airport. He had paid for chocolates and a carton of cigarettes. The cashier then secretly put a second carton of cigarettes into his bag. He was arrested for shop-lifting and the Thai Police extortion price was baht 30,000 for his release. He spent two nights in jail and paid baht 800 per night for an air-cond cell, plus 200-300 baht for each visitor, and baht 30,000 to the police for his final release. That was the bribe money that the Thai police shared in front of his eyes.

    Additionally he was charged in court and fined baht 20,000 by the magistrate and handcuffed and escorted to his plane, having to buy an additional flight ticket. His passport was stamped so that he cannot re-enter Thailand - which he never wants to do anyway.

    The company where the busness man works previously bought many thousands of dollars worth of goods from Thailand has now ceased all business and is obtaining product from Malaysia and Vietmnam."


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