Learning From Our Neighbour

December 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

It is truly unfortunate that Thailand, and much of its capital Bangkok, is so badly inundated by the floods this year, but Malaysians and visitors to our country can heave a sigh of relief that its capital Kuala Lumpur has a good chance at preventing an occurrence of such great proportions with its flood prevention plans, including the SMART tunnel.

A recent article reports that the Thai tourism industry will face an estimated revenue loss of up to US25 million (about RM2.4 billion) and a drop in international arrivals by 300,000 tourists if the current flood, the worst in five decades in this country, prolong until end of next month.

The Thai tourism industry will see an enormous drop in tourist arrivals if the current floods persists till end of the month

Without a doubt, development is necessary, but not at the price of courting a major catastrophe. We should all learn from this unfortunate incident, otherwise whatever was lost will be in vain.

Are you prepared for a potential flood?

Read the full article below:
The Thai tourism industry will face an estimated revenue loss of up to US25 million (about RM2.4 billion) and a drop in international arrivals by 300,000 tourists if the current flood, the worst in five decades in this country, prolong until end of next month.

The Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Suraphon Svetasreni said the projected losses comprise US87 million (about RM1.1 billion) from international tourism and U38 million (about RM1.3 billion) from domestic tourism.

However, the estimated losses could be trimmed to US20 million (about (RM1.5 billion) and the international arrivals decrease by only 220,000 tourists if the flood crisis was resolved by end of this month, he said.

Of the total, he said US75 million (about RM825 million) estimated losses would be from international tourism and US45 million (about RM735 million) from domestic tourism.

“We have to develop the two scenarios for estimating the impact the flood will have on Thai tourism as we could not ascertain how fast the flood crisis could be resolved because it depends on unforeseen circumstances too,” he said.

Suraphon said TAT would be in a better position to determine the impact once the flood subsides and the situation returns to normalcy.

He said the Suvarnabhumi International Airport recorded 14.4 million international visitor arrivals between January and September this year, an increase of 27 per cent year-on-year growth.

For last month alone, the airport received 958,000 international tourist arrivals, an increase of 6.7 per cent compared to the same month last year, he said adding that Phuket International Airport had an increase of 28.5 per cent last month based on year-on-year growth.

“However, from Nov 1 to Nov 3, the number of arrivals at Suvarnabhumi International Airport was 72,000, a decrease of 25 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year,” he said.

The governor believed the overall tourist arrivals this year could hit 19.1 million against the pre-crisis projection of 19.5 million although the country was experiencing the flood crisis.

Suraphon said it was more than the flood factor that determined the number of tourist arrivals as other factors such as global economy and energy prices were important too.

He wanted the international community to be aware that not all the country was flooded as tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Krabi, Phang-Nga, Surat Thani, Chumphon and Koh Samui had not been affected by flood at all.

“Most of central Bangkok, where tourists normally go to, such as Khao San Road, Ratchprasong Intersection, Sukhumvit Road, Silom and Sathorn are not flooded,” he said.

He was confident the tourist arrivals would bounce back immediately once the flood crisis was over just as in the past when the country was confronted with disease epidemics and political unrest.

“We can recover from this crisis just as we faced them in the past,” he said.

The tourism industry contributes about six per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Suraphon said apart from enhancing its communication activities, TAT would also intensify its marketing activities to stimulate the country’s tourism industry.

Among them are bringing 150 European media representatives for the launching of the European tour giant summer brochure in Phang Nga between Nov 9 and 14.

Twenty Miss Belgium finalists are scheduled to attend preparation camp in Chiang Mai leading to the pageant’s grand finale, he said.

He said TAT would also invite travel agent frontliners and the media from Asia-Pacific and Europe to visit Chiang Mai soon as an effort to build up confidence and image in the country.

About one-third of the country remains inundated, with more than three million people in 25 provinces in the northern and central regions affected by flood which hit the country in stages since July 25.

Source: Bernama

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