Thailand's lethargic tourism seen last year is expected to continue into this year. Overall, inbound tourist arrivals are at risk of setbacks. The most vulnerable locale is Bangkok due to the anti-government protests that started in March and flared up into riots and arson in the central business district during May. Many businesses have been hit hard by huge losses in income, as a result.
KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) forecasts that tourist arrivals in 2010 are expected to total some 14 million, falling short of the 15.56 million that was projected before the political violence. This figure would also be lower than last year's tourist arrivals totaling 14.15 million.
To brace for bleak prospects over the remainder of this year, KResearch holds the view that collaboration between related entities in the public and private sectors is needed. Emphasis should be placed on encouraging more Thais to travel domestically, along with restoring confidence toward tourism here in foreign tourist markets, though it may take a long time for such efforts to bear fruit.
Even so, there are several positive factors that would favor a tourism revival. They include the economic recovery, government relief measures for the tourism sector and marketing campaigns launched by tourism-related businesses. It is expected that domestic travel in 2010 may generate around THB400 billion in revenue, representing an increase of 4 percent over 2009, thus beating the 2-percent growth seen last year. This revenue is expected to help offset falling income typically earned from foreign tourist arrivals.