Thai economy at risk after coup
Ceyhun Kuburlu BANGKOK
Thailand, as one of the leading countries with the greatest tourism gains in 2013, was targeting 65 billion US dollars of revenue for 2014.Thailand, a country that attracts some 30 million tourists each year and earns $43 million in tourism revenue, is facing an economic crisis following the bloodless military coup.
Tourists have already started to return to their countries amid curfews at night. Thailand, as one of the leading countries with the greatest tourism gains in 2013, was targeting $65 billion of revenue for 2014. This target seems too high now.
While seizing the power in May the army had said the coup was necessary to restore order. The army detained politicians, censored media and banned protests with predictions suggesting that more repressive measures could follow, stoking instability instead of restoring order.
Streets where popular shopping malls and bars were full of foreign tourists just a short while ago are empty now – except the soldiers who patrol around. The army has reassured the country that necessary steps to protect tourism have already been taken. Thai officials who spoke to Hürriyet, however, voice concerns that over 1 million people could be out of their jobs if the coup continues to affect tourism.
Few foreign tourists accept to go on with their holidays in Thailand where it is not allowed to be in the streets after 10 p.m. Even 5-star hotels reduced their prices by half after thousands of bookings were cancelled because of the coup.
International fairs scheduled to be held in Thailand have not been cancelled, at least for now. But several companies warned the organizers that they wouldn’t be able to participate in the fairs.
The worst affected businesses are night clubs, gift shops and taxis. “The number of tourists has been in decline in the past seven months. Nobody goes out in the day time, as it’s hot and now nobody can go out at night because of the curfew, taxi driver Somsak Jaindekro told Hürriyet. “I expect my income to decrease 50 percent this month,” he added, stressing that he was earning $1000 a month before.
As people keep emptying the shelves of supermarkets in Bangkok in fear of a food crisis, the daily cost of the coup on Thai economy is predicted to be around $100 million.