Thailand’s battered tourism industry seeks urgent gov’t help

Amid a sharp drop in tourist arrivals to Thailand, the country’s tourism agencies were alarmed and strongly urging the government to provide urgent measures to rescue the beleaguered industry.

Tosaporn Thepbutr, deputy-chairman of Committee on Tourism and Sports, said the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association (TCTA) and Thailand-Japan Tourism Promotion Association on Tuesday submitted a complaint letter to the committee.

They charged that although the government had announced tourism as a national priority, to date no concrete measures have been implemented by concerned-agencies to boost the country’s tourism industry. So the premier himself should intervene to resolve the problems.

Thailand’s tourist arrivals sharply drop to a critical level, Mr. Tosaporn said, in June alone, the number of tourist arrivals has dropped from 165,000 in the same period of 2008, to 27,000 in 2009 due to the Influenza A(H1N1) outbreak, or 33.45 per cent year-on-year.

Mr. Tosaporn said that with the falling number of tourist arrivals from almost every nation, except from Iran and Hong Kong, the earlier estimated arrival levels of 11 million tourists projected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be unlikely to achieve the target.

“The causes of the sharp drop in tourist arrivals are attributed to the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in November and December, and recent domestic political turmoil, combined with the current outbreak of the H1N1 flu,” Mr. Tosaporn said.

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