Island economy hit by protests

TOURISM has already been hit by the ongoing political turmoil with resort islands like Koh Samui worst affected, according to experts.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) urged the government yesterday to find an end to the deadlock that has gripped the nation in recent years, as the prolonged consequences would soon spread from tourism to other sectors.

Retail, investment and export would next be adversely affected by the crisis, claimed the influencial body, with unemployment predicted to rise as a result.

The chamber’s report revealed that 70 per cent of travellers due to arrive in Bangkok during the recent demonstrations cancelled their trips with most hotel rooms around Rattanakosin Island – where the red shirt rally was focused – remaining empty.

Around 20 charter flights have also been cancelled with more likely to follow unless a way out of the current conflict is found.

TCC chairman Dusit Nontanakorn told reporters: “So far, the governments of more than 30 countries have warned their travellers to avoid visiting Thailand.

“Exports could be hit in the third quarter, as traders might lose confidence about doing business with Thailand.”

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