After the worst flooding that Thailand has experienced in 50 years, the country is now looking at ways to boost tourism. While large areas of Thailand were badly affected by the flooding, it has to be stressed there were many areas left totally untouched. Holiday destinations such as Koh Chang and the seaside city of Pattaya in the eastern side of the gulf were totally unaffected by the flooding.
In spite of this fact, many tourists have cancelled their trips deciding it is unsafe to travel to Bangkok, and this has given tourist arrivals a temporary backdrop, resulting in a considerable but temporary damage to the tourism industry. However, it should be made clear that Suvarnabhumi Airport remains open and domestic flights to the top holiday destinations are flying as scheduled.
Many international governments issued warnings to their citizens advising them against travelling to Bangkok and other areas in Thailand, but these are now being rescinded as the flood water begins to abate. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office which had issued a warning against travel to the country, has now changed its advice. It is telling holidaymakers to Thailand to be cautious if they are visiting one of the 22 provinces affected by the floods. They are also informing their citizens that flying into Bangkok is safe, noting that even though the city’s Don Muang airport is still under water the flights are being redirected to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The Thai tourist industry is now counting the cost of the flooding to the country. It is estimated that there will be a drop of between 15 and 20 percent in tourist arrivals in the current high season due to the travel warnings which were given by more than 30 countries.
The president of the Tourism Council of Thailand’s policy and planning committee, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, explained that 70 percent of tourists to Thailand fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport and their travel plans will be completely unaffected.
He said that disruption to the tourist industry was likely to result in a 25 billion baht drop in revenue. He also claimed that due to road damage the domestic tourist trade is down by 30 percent and this along with the closure of many tourism attractions, will take another 10 billion baht out of the tourism revenue. He urged the government to make contact with countries and tour operators, informing them that it was safe to come to the country.
In the past, Thailand has shown that it is highly efficient and acting fast in restoring infrastructures from natural disasters.
As the flood waters recede, the tourism industry is optimistic that it can encourage holidaymakers to return to the country. It is currently the high season for tourists in Thailand, and the most popular time to visit the country but due to the flood problems it is expected that arrivals will drop by 220,000 this year.
To counter the fall in visitors, the country is looking at ways to entice them back with promotions and incentives. One step being considered is the waiving of the 60 day tourist fee.
Another most welcome step has been taken by Thai Airways. They have agreed to cut domestic flight prices from Bangkok’s International Suvarnabhumi Airport to the top holiday destinations by 50 percent. Thailand has so much to offer tourists and is one of the world’s most popular holiday destination so it will surely not take long for the tourists to come flocking back.