Tourism in Thailand’s South almost gone

The violence in the South (covering the provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Satun) has adversely affected local businesses, Somkiat Anuras, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in charge of the economy in the area, was quoted saying.

The government has issued a series of measures to support business in the South, but these have not been enough to restore confidence.

More than 10 medium-sized hotels in the region have gone out of business, while an unaccounted number of related enterprises have also shut down, the report said.

Domestic and overseas tourists are shunning the region because of the regular news of violence in the area.

“The hotel occupancy rate remains only 20 per cent, against the previous rate of 60-70 per cent, while many small retail businesses have had to close down their businesses as they were facing a high financial burden and lower consumer spending,” Somkiat was quoted saying.

Most enterprises there have asked the Commerce Ministry to organise a National Economic Drive Expo in Hat Yai, Songkhla, to stimulate the economy in the deep South.

Somkiat described Songkhla as a centre that drives growth in the deep South. The government should consider organising a fair in the province to help support businesses in the problem areas.

Thailand, in cooperation with the Indonesian and Malaysian governments, will hold a tourism and trade fair in Hat Yai early next year.

The event aims to help increase trade and tourism by 30 percent from the downsized figure this year, said Somkiat, adding that it will also enable enterprises to continue their businesses in the deep South.

The fair will be held from January 11-20. About 100-150 tourism companies will attend and 800 traders from the local area, Indonesia and Malaysia will participate.

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