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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1591

Sars cost tourism Bt10 bn in April

Bangkok, May 04: Sars has cost Thailand over Bt10 billion in lost tourism revenue since the start of April, Vichit Na Ranong, chairman of the Regional Tourism Association, said yesterday.

“Last month, tourist numbers decreased by 50 per cent, with the number of tourists from Asian countries the largest fall,” he said at a seminar on a national aviation network. More than 400 participants from the tourist industry attended the seminar.

In order to survive, the association has proposed 10 projects to the government, including tourism promotions for short holidays – such as weekends and long weekends – and the conference market.

The government is helping the industry, Vichit said, but there were many areas where problems remained, such as providing accurate information about Sars to airline passengers, and tourism-related taxes.

“This is a nightmare for the tourist industry,” said Assistant Tourism and Sports Minister Kerkkrai Jeeraphat.

“Out of 717 million travellers around the globe each year, about 10 million come to Thailand, and generate Bt300 billion in revenue,” he said. “This is a sign that the industry will keep growing in the future,” Kerkkrai said, adding that he hoped that the Sars problem would be solved within two months.

- The Nation -

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