How might Bangkok bomb attack hit Thai tourism?

Opinions vary on how it will affect tourism to the country
The Thailand tourism industry is in shock after a deadly blast in Bangkok, the first that appears to have been directly aimed at tourists. But opinions vary on how it will affect tourism to the country.
At least 20 people were killed in the blast by the Erawan shrine on Monday, half of them tourists from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Around 120 were injured.
Industry players interviewed by TTG Asia believe that huge markets for Thailand such as MICE and China would be among the first flashpoints.
“The real danger to the Thailand travel industry is the MICE sector,” said James Reed, CEO and group managing director of Destination Asia. “Our MICE clientele is 85% Fortune 500 corporations or top 50 companies in the US, the UK, continental Europe, Australia and ASEAN, and this is a very sensitive market segment as the participants are the corporations’ best sales executives.”
He expects the immediate reaction to be not only cancellations of MICE programmes, but no new requests for proposals for corporate events in the future.
“The effect of a terrorist attack can linger for up to 12 months, if not longer, and in my career I have seen many similar ‘risk/go or no go’ scenarios.”
On the China market, Bill Barnett, managing director of Phuket-based C9 Hotelworks, said: “The Chinese element in the story and how it plays to social media in the mainland are crucial.”
Tourism from Asia would likely be impacted, agreed Andrew Wood, a tourism lecturer in Thailand and past president of Skal International Thailand.
“[Thailand] expects to attract 29 million tourists in 2015. Will our resilience hold steadfast yet again? I believe so, but tourism from Asia will likely be impacted. China and Japan for sure. Maybe 27 million would now be more realistic, up from 24.8 million last year.”
The total contribution of travel and tourism to Thailand’s GDP was 2.3 billion baht (€58.4 million) or 19.3% of GDP in 2014, Wood says. Before the bombing, this had been forecast to rise by 3.2% in 2015.
Meanwhile, hotels in Bangkok responded quickly after a bomb attack in the Thai capital which saw at least 21 dead and over 120 injured.
Meanwhile, hotels and airlines are stepping up safety precautions. The shrine is connected to the Grand Hyatt Erawan and is surrounded by major hotels and shopping malls. Nearby establishments opened their doors to help emergency services and provided support to the public in the aftermath.
Gilles Cretallaz, vice president of operations for AccorHotels in upper South-East Asia, told TTG Asia: “AccorHotels in Bangkok have heightened security and precautionary measures with emergency procedures in place to protect our guests and employees. We have also advised them to avoid the Ratchaprasong intersection and crowded areas.”
AccorHotels established a crisis management committee and is monitoring the situation closely alongside Thai authorities. Cretallaz said that “some cancellations” could be expected.
TTG Asia


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