Recovering Thai tourism woos back visitors


The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Suraphon Svetasreni, said: “Recently, events in Thailand have caused concern among potential visitors worldwide. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) advises travellers that the situation here is returning to normal.

“The events of the past few weeks only took place in a few areas of the country. Major tourist destinations outside of Bangkok, and most of the city itself, were not affected.”

The Thai government is planning to make more than five billion baht (£105 million) available to tourism industry businesses in low interest loans with two year grace periods, reports the Tourism of Cambodia website. The Thai government also reportedly intends to waive visa fees for some countries and lower the landing fees for airlines.

Svetasreni, of TAT, continued: “The things that make Thailand so appealing to visitors – our unique culture, natural attractions from mountains and beaches, incomparable value and the welcoming hospitality of Thai people – have not changed. The country’s transportation infrastructure is fully operational.

“Tourism operators throughout Thailand are ready and waiting to offer visitors exceptional holiday experiences.”

The Thai travel business has a history of bouncing back after crises. In recent times it suffered an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the 2004 tsunami that struck Phuket and nearby beach areas and a protest in 2008 that shut Thailand’s main international airport for days.

Until now the UK government had been advising against travelling to the major tourist centres of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. But following the lifting of the Thai Government curfew in Bangkok, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed its advice not to travel to the Thai capital, as well as Chiang Mai.

Industry trade magazine Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) said operators had reported being confident Thailand would recover quickly and could be back to pre-crisis arrival levels by the start of next year.

Melissa Tilling, product development manager at Funway, told TTG: “The country has enduring appeal and is such great value for money, it will bounce back quickly. The rest of 2010 will be a recovery period with lots of deals and promotions. If nothing further happens, it will be back to normal by 2011.”