Thailand’s tourism industry feels the heat from strong baht, fewer visitors

Thailand’s Tourism Industry Feels The Heat From Strong Baht, Fewer Visitors

Thailand’s tourism industry, which accounts for at least a fifth of the country’s GDP, is coming under increasing pressure from a rising baht and fewer international arrivals, especially of Chinese tourists.

Chinese visitors are an important factor for the industry as they in the last years accounted for more than a quarter of all foreign arrivals. However, in the first half of this year their numbers were down by five per cent to 5.6 million, while over the past year the Thai baht has appreciated 12 per cent against China’s yuan – dissuading those who are price-sensitive and squandering the country’s reputation as an affordable destination in Southeast Asia.

Another factor is the changing ways in which Chinese tourists are visiting Thailand, according to tourism analysts. Tour groups, which used to account for about 60 per cent of Chinese visitors, have been replaced by more price-aware independent travelers who begin to realise that their money is worth more in other destinations in the region such as Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines or even Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

The effects of a surging baht have also been felt by tourists from other countries, such as Russia, Australia and from Europe. In the resort town of Pattaya, for example, businesses catering to tourists have already begun to feel the pinch as bars and restaurants in Pattaya are now reporting dropping profits.

Pattaya is faced with a year-on-year decrease in the number of visitors of about 20 to 30 per cent earlier this month, according to the Bangkok Post. Krabi, a southern resort town on the Andaman Sea coast, reported a similar drop.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s tourism ministry has downgraded its arrival projections for this year from 41 million to as low as 39 million. It also has decided to delay plans to collect a tourism levy from foreign visitors.

Permanent tourism secretary Chote Trachu said the levy could result in “psychological deterrence” among foreign visitors, bringing further harm to the already struggling tourism industry.

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Thailand’s tourism industry, which accounts for at least a fifth of the country’s GDP, is coming under increasing pressure from a rising baht and fewer international arrivals, especially of Chinese tourists. Chinese visitors are an important factor for the industry as they in the last years accounted for more than a quarter of all foreign arrivals. However, in the first half of this year their numbers were down by five per cent to 5.6 million, while over the past year the Thai baht has appreciated 12 per cent against China’s yuan – dissuading those who are price-sensitive and squandering the...

Thailand’s Tourism Industry Feels The Heat From Strong Baht, Fewer Visitors

Thailand’s tourism industry, which accounts for at least a fifth of the country’s GDP, is coming under increasing pressure from a rising baht and fewer international arrivals, especially of Chinese tourists.

Chinese visitors are an important factor for the industry as they in the last years accounted for more than a quarter of all foreign arrivals. However, in the first half of this year their numbers were down by five per cent to 5.6 million, while over the past year the Thai baht has appreciated 12 per cent against China’s yuan – dissuading those who are price-sensitive and squandering the country’s reputation as an affordable destination in Southeast Asia.

Another factor is the changing ways in which Chinese tourists are visiting Thailand, according to tourism analysts. Tour groups, which used to account for about 60 per cent of Chinese visitors, have been replaced by more price-aware independent travelers who begin to realise that their money is worth more in other destinations in the region such as Malaysia, Vietnam or the Philippines or even Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

The effects of a surging baht have also been felt by tourists from other countries, such as Russia, Australia and from Europe. In the resort town of Pattaya, for example, businesses catering to tourists have already begun to feel the pinch as bars and restaurants in Pattaya are now reporting dropping profits.

Pattaya is faced with a year-on-year decrease in the number of visitors of about 20 to 30 per cent earlier this month, according to the Bangkok Post. Krabi, a southern resort town on the Andaman Sea coast, reported a similar drop.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s tourism ministry has downgraded its arrival projections for this year from 41 million to as low as 39 million. It also has decided to delay plans to collect a tourism levy from foreign visitors.

Permanent tourism secretary Chote Trachu said the levy could result in “psychological deterrence” among foreign visitors, bringing further harm to the already struggling tourism industry.

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