Thai Tourism Minister: Tourist arrivals down over 50% due to chaos


BANGKOK – The current street violence linked with political unrest in Bangkok has driven away foreign tourists from visiting Thailand as arrivals have declined by over 50 per cent now, Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa said on Tuesday.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand tumbled after 19 foreign governments advised their citizens to not visit the kingdom due to political unrest, Thai News Agency cited Chumpol as saying.

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Admitting that it is difficult for tour agencies to persuade tourists to visit Thailand as before, Chumpol said foreigners thought that the unrest took place throughout the country, but in fact it occurred only in the capital.

The number of tourists passing through Suvarnabhumi Airport now is down to about 20,000 people daily, compared to over 30,000 before, he said.

Chumpol said he would try to persuade more foreign tourists to visit Thailand as his ministry had earlier projected that about 15.5 million tourists would visit the country in 2010, but with the present unrest, about 14.1 million foreign tourists are likely to arrive in Thailand this year, the same as 2009, he added.