Yesterday’s political fiasco, where Pita Limjaroenrat failed to become PM despite his party winning the most votes in the general election, has left Thailand’s tourism sector on edge.
The risk of political protests if Pita Limjaroenrat fails to secure the votes needed to become PM in round 2 or 3 of voting (on July 19 and 20) is worrying tourism operators.
For now protest activity has been very limited as Thais wait for the next round of voting. The 8-party coalition, back Pita as Thailand’s next PM, make up 71% of the popular vote in the last election.
The Bangkok Post reports that the president of the Thai Hotels Association says a government must be formed as soon as possible.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi adds that if political protests do take place in response to the current stalemate, they should be peaceful, in order to protect the country’s international reputation. She points out that tourists are concerned about their safety while travelling and that some nationalities, such as Japanese visitors, may be particularly sensitive to political conflict.
Meanwhile, Adith Chairattananon from the Association of Thai Travel Agents says international tourism is more likely to be impacted by a delay in forming a new government than by political protests.
He points out that political demonstrations are commonplace in many countries and foreign tourists will understand and simply avoid such sites. Adith says that the sooner a government is formed, the quicker the administration can help companies improve and attract more business through inbound tourism.
He says he doesn’t believe any threat of political protests will affect Chinese tourism, which is expected to bounce back with a vengeance this year. He points out that most tourists are more concerned about scams and crime, saying these are more damaging to Thailand’s reputation than political rallies.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post