Thu, Jan 23, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Tourist numbers to Thailand drop more than 80 percent

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese tourists heading to Thailand leading up to the Lunar New Year holiday declined more than 80 percent this year compared with last year following the continuing violence in Bangkok, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

The Southeast Asian country on Tuesday imposed a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces following a series of violent event since last week.

The bureau said Thailand has always been one of the favorite overseas travel destinations for Taiwanese travelers, in particular during the Lunar New Year holiday.

In January last year, an average of 1,100 tourists from Taiwan visited Thailand per day. The number jumped to 1,500 per day in February last year.

This year, however, the average number of visitors dropped to less than 220 per day, the bureau said

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs late last night upgraded the travel alert for Thailand from yellow to orange.

An “orange” alert is the second-highest level; a “red” alert is the highest level on the four-color advisory scale. Orange means travelers should take precautions and avoid unnecessary travel.

The color of a travel alert can affect the amount of reimbursement that tourists can receive if they choose to withdraw from a tour group.

The dramatic decline in tourists to Thailand had affected the business of travel agencies as well as airlines. Though travel agencies continue to form tour groups to Thailand, they are forced to bypass the popular tourist attractions in downtown Bangkok and change to other locations.

China Airlines, on the other hand, has canceled additional night flights to Bangkok from this month to March.

This story has been updated since it was first published.

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