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Tourism index drops below normal

Thailand's Tourism Confidence Index in the first quarter dropped below its normal level for the first time since last year, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT).

TCT President Piyamarn Techapaibul said Thailand lost over Bt82 billion in anticipated revenues from tourism since the enforcement of the emergency decree.

The confidence index declined to 96 in the first quarter - the first time since last year when it dropped below the normal point given tourists' concern over the political conflicts.

Tourism operators called on the government to build confidence among foreigners through publicity, stimulate tourism-related activities including workshops and seminars, and to offer tax incentives to tourists.

"When Suvarnabhumi Airport was closed in 2008, the then government offered over Bt1 billion of financial assistance to uplift the tourism industry. It should do the same this time," she said.

Piyamarn said the tourism business and hotel occupancy have yet to come to life again after the government revoked the state of emergency.

The number of tourist arrivals through Suvarnabhumi and Don Meuang airports dropped 22 per cent compared to the same period last year.

It is urgent that the government stimulate such sensitive markets as China, Hong Kong and Japan, she said.


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