10 September, 2016 Security
Tourism in Thailand has slowed in the wake of multiple attacks there, just like what has happened in Turkey and France – and to a lesser degree, Tunisia – (see Muir Analytics reports here, here, and here.)
Right after the Thai mid-south bombings in August, the town of Trang had a 100% hotel cancelation rate, reports The Nation. Prateep Jongthong, president of Trang’s tourism association, said that the negative impact of the bombings could carry on into October. Other tourist related businesses in the mid-south have since reported a slight bounce back in bookings as travelers are unaware of the issues at stake or disregard them entirely because of the hotel deals offered.
The Voice of America says economists at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce report that the recent terror attacks might cause a loss of 365,000 fewer tourists visiting the mid-south provinces, resulting in a loss of $170 million USD.
The main questions now are these: 1) will the Thai government be able to protect its tourism sector from further attacks, and 2) will Thailand’s tourism sector bounce back, or will it suffer as tourists shy away and turn to other nearby venues such as Vietnam?
There is a lot at stake. The World Travel and Tourism Council reports that tourists bring in $72 billion USD a year to Thailand, and that this sector is estimated to employ five million people, or 14 % of all working Thai.
Multiple ISIS terror attacks in France, Turkey, and Tunisia have caused a massive loss in cruise ship and hotel bookings, and inbound air flights have significantly fallen off as well. Billions of dollars have been lost. Terrorism has practically wrecked Tunisia’s tourism sector.
There are two takeaways here. First, terrorists fully understand that they are not just stacking up body counts by attacking hotels and tourism sites. They are attacking entire tourism sectors, and therefore nations’ economies. And they are doing it to great effect.
Second, one more major attack outside of the far south’s main insurgency zone (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla provinces,) and Thailand’s tourism reputation will certainly begin to suffer along the lines of Turkey and France. A more terrible attack might trigger a Tunisia effect.
Sources and further reading:
“Thailand’s Tourism Industry Works to Recover from Attacks,” Voice of America, 24 August 2016.
“Trang suffers ‘100-per cent booking cancellation’,” The Nation, 13 August 2016.
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