Asia Business Channel

How will the latest Bangkok bombings affect business and tourism in Thailand?

Thai police investigating one of the scenes of last Friday’s bombing in Bankgok / Photo – VOA News.

Last Friday saw nine attempted or successful bombings across Thailand capital city of Bangkok, which was hosting an ASEAN regional meeting that included diplomats from more than 31 countries, including the ASEAN member states, China, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

According to reports on Saturday, six of the nine bombs exploded and another three bombs were discovered at various locations across the city. At least four people were injured and hospitalized and many more escaped harm. A spokesman at the Erewan Medical Centre said that none of the injuries are serious and that "all are receiving medical attention at hospitals."

Three bombs exploded at the Government Complex in Chaeng Wattana and one failed to go off. Two others blew up in the Chong Nonsi area. Thai police have arrested two people who are believed to be responsible for planting some of the bombs and said in a press conference on Sunday that more arrests are probable.

The bombs in the Chong Nonsi area are especially shocking since they targeted both the BTS Skytrain in that area, as well as a local shopping mall, both of which are frequented by many foreigners visiting Thailand.

On Friday, Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, said that the bombings earlier that day, were not adversely affecting the country’s economy or tourism.

Thailand's Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakan, visited Bangkok's Chinatown on Friday night in a bid to restore the confidence of foreign tourists who are worried whether Bangkok is a safe place to visit.

Airline officials said that many foreigners have asked to move their reservations moved forward so that they can leave the country earlier than planned and tourism officials from countries across the globe are urging their citizens to avoid travel to Thailand. As one example, The Canadian governments website was updated over the weekend and says:

   Thailand - Exercise a high degree of caution
   Exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand in Thailand due to ongoing political tensions and sporadic
   demonstrations in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country.

Several governments through their websites are advising their citizens to avoid tourism areas and events with large numbers of people since these are potential targets for further terrorist attacks.

A tourist visiting Thailand for the first time said, “If we have to avoid the shopping centers, the BTS Skytrains and can’t go to bars, clubs and events because they all are terrorism targets then what’s the point of coming here?”

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) officials have been happy with first-half of the year arrivals and are expecting a 7% increase in foreign visitors this year. However, the test as to whether the country will be negatively effected on a long-term basis by last weeks bombings will be whether airline and hotel bookings decrease this week, or whether they stay stable.




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