Tourism Authority of Thailand looks at drought impact

Tourism Authority of Thailand looks at drought impact

Rain shortage expected to continue and may hurt tourism

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to conduct a study on the impact of severe drought on the tourism industry as many parts of the country are likely to endure a prolonged shortage of rain this year.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said he instructed TAT local offices to monitor the weather, especially offices in the North and Northeast that see dry spells interspersed with occasional rain.

Low water levels in many areas in these regions have affected outdoor adventure activities, especially rafting, he said.

Operators are advised to shift visitors to other activities.

Regardless of weather, Thais will continue to travel regularly, especially during long holidays, noting behaviour during recent holidays, said Mr Yuthasak.

"Only a few tourism areas have been affected by droughts. Tourists are travelling to the Northeast as usual, particularly on Buddhist holidays," he said.

Local, cultural and religious tourism products have played a key role in luring tourists, said Mr Yuthasak.

He is upbeat on the third quarter, expecting this year will be better than in 2018, when the Chinese market imploded following the fatal boat accident in Phuket.

Mr Yuthasak forecasts during July to September Thailand will earn some 820 billion baht in income from domestic and international tourism, a 9% rise from last year.

International markets are showing positive trends thanks to an improving global economy in the second half this year.

This quarter, some 9.7 million foreign tourists are expected to travel to Thailand, up 7% year-on-year, and generate 530 billion baht, a gain of 11%.

The market with the most tourist arrivals is China, with 2.6 million, a 12% increase, followed by Malaysia, Laos, South Korea and Japan.

Growth will be seen in all markets except the Middle East, which is still suffering from unstable oil prices, he said.

The domestic market in the third quarter is expected to reach 41.7 million trips, an increase of 6%, generating 280 billion baht, an uptick of 5% from the third quarter last year.

The TAT estimates some 19.4 million Thais will travel to second-tier provinces, up by 6%.

Following Bangkok, the central and eastern regions will be the most popular destinations in terms of tourism income, due to proximity to the capital and a surfeit of attractions.

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