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Promising or grim: the outlook on China tourism is hard to read

China Quake Shakes Tourism Outlook

Thursday, June 26, 2008
THE EARTHQUAKE in China is causing an aftershock in tourist numbers visiting Thailand, including Phuket, industry experts say.

And the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, set for August, is also likely to slow visitor numbers from all corners of the globe, but especially China.

Anecdotally, some island resorts have reported a drop in travellers in June triggered by the European football championships.

The latest warnings come from the Pacific Asia Travel Association, according to the Prachachat Thai-language national newspaper.

PATA also points out that continuing political wrangles in Bangkok, combined with rising fuel prices, are likely to create uncertainty about growth in tourist numbers for the next six months.

Koreans and Chinese, long the mainstay of the Phuket low season, were still benefitting from strong economies and able to travel as usual.

PATA is quoted as saying that South East Asia remained much cheaper as a destination than Europe, even with fuel driving costs higher.

In spite of Phuket's express desire to attract more five-star tourists to increase spending not environmental damage, the Minister for Tourism and Sport, Weerasak Kowsurat, told Prachachat that his department was seeking more package tourists for 2008 and 2009.

His five-theme plan recycles the sights of Bangkok, ''Lanna'' Thailand, the ''good beaches and safety'' of the Gulf of Thailand, and the culture of Isarn.

For the Andaman region, his theme is ''Blue and green, clean and clear,'' although if tourists keep coming in ever-growing numbers, that may not remain the case for much longer.

A greater variety of packages for different kinds of tourists was on offer than before, with the opening up of new destinations, including farming regions, such as Isarn.

The minister said students from Korea and Japan were coming in increasing numbers to study Thai culture.

Increases in numbers were also showing among the double-income, no-kids category and the high-end group. More people were also travelling for short-haul holidays within the Asia/Pacific region.

Near-neighbors were also coming for weekend trips of two or three days.

''Green'' tourism was seen as a growing market among Europeans. The ministry was keen to encourage environmentally sensitive attitudes throughout the industry, he said.

Medical tourism was also being promoted.

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Wednesday May 18, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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