A craftsman fixes the statue of Hindu god Brahma after it was damaged during the deadly blast at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, August 26, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
BANGKOK – Thailand’s tourism sector will rebound from the negative impact of the recent bombing attack in downtown Bangkok, which left at least 20 people dead, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said Wednesday.
The bombing at Erawan Shrine on Aug. 17 will have a short-term impact on tourism, Kobkarn said, stressing that this year’s target of 2.2 trillion baht ($61.8 billion) in tourism revenue will be achieved.
The travel booking and hotel reservation are still good until the end of this year, the minister said at a press conference.
The situation is currently under control, while security and safety measures have been heightened through increased presence of security forces both in uniforms and plainclothes in various locations, Kobkarn noted.
Measures have been taken to ensure the highest degree of safety and security of both Thais and foreigners who are travelling to the kingdom for all sorts of purposes, whether it is for tourism, business, or education, she added.
During the past week, tourist arrivals have declined by 7 percent compared to past trends, and the number is expected to fluctuate within the next couple of weeks, Areepong Bhoocha-oom, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, said at the press conference.
However, he added, from Aug. 1 to 23, tourist arrivals totaled 2.1 million, up 31.68 percent from the same period last year.
“Thailand has a long tradition of being a hospitable and welcoming country, and we fully believe it will continue to be so, ” said Carlos Vogeler, director-executive secretary of member relations at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
“Thailand is not alone. It is backed up by the international community,” Vogeler said.
It is highly regrettable that Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, has been the target of this violence, said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“Fortunately, Thailand has shown its resilience in the past from natural disasters and other disruptions, and we hope that the situation will stabilize and return to normal very quickly,” Scowsill said.