Thailand could lose one million tourists in political turmoil

Published On: Sat, Jan 25th, 2014

Tourism | By Daniel Lorenzzo

Thailand could lose one million tourists in political turmoil

The deepening political turmoil in Thailand, along with a political impasse that may not be resolved soon, will inevitably affect the numbers of inbound tourists, as visits by one million overseas travelers could be lost if the protest prolong until mid-2014, according to a leading economic think tank.

Kasikorn Research Centre (KResearch) said the tourism industry this year still has bright prospects as business could grow if the political turmoil ends soon.

KResearch said 29 million foreign tourists were forecasted to visit the country this year, an 8.5 per cent increase from the previous year and could generate more than Bt1.4 trillion in income, as the European economy was picking up and China has relaxed its rules and regulations concerning the tourism business.

If the demonstration dragged into mid 2014, Thailand could lose one million tourists

The ASEAN Ecomomic Community (AEC) set to be established by 2015 and new low cost airlines have facilitated tourists visiting Thailand, KResearch said.

However, the ongoing political crisis which led to the invocation of the Emergency Decree on January 22 could suppress the growth of tourism business.

KResearch said that if the protest prolonged to the Q1, the numbers of foreign tourists would dwindle by 500,000 to Bt28.5 million tourists, generating Bt1.38 trillion, Bt20 billion lower than targeted.

If the demonstration dragged into mid 2014, Thailand could lose one million tourists, down to 28 million, and the income from tourism business would stand at Bt1.35 trillion or a Bt50 billion loss from last year.

Japan calls off all tours to Thailand

The decision to impose an emergency decree to manage the spreading and intensifying anti-government protests in Bangkok has led to cancellations of all Japanese tours to Thailand, according to Anake Srishevachart, president of the Thai-Japan Tourist Association.To foreign tourists, the emergency decree is a sign of a possible outbreak of violence between the government’s foes and its supporters, and with security forces.

Last year, 1.4 million Japanese tourists visited Thailand. They spent an average of Bt20,000-Bt30,000 per person and stayed in Thailand for an average of about five days on each trip. Thus the cancellation of Japanese tours to Thailand will likely be a big blow to the revenue of the tourism and service sectors, especially during the current high season.

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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