TAT lowers tourism projections
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

BANGKOK (The Nation): The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has sharply cut its projections for the number of international visitors and tourism revenue next year due to soaring oil prices, which are discouraging international travel and have led to cuts in inbound flights.

It targets only a 3.3-per-cent growth in the number of international visitors in 2009, a sharp downward revision from the original projection of 10 per cent. From a projected 17 million, or 10-per-cent growth, the TAT now expects only 16 million travellers to visit the country. About 15 million visitors are expected in 2008.

The TAT has also halved it revenue-growth projection for next year to 5 per cent, though spending per head per trip is expected to increase from 38,760 baht this year to 39,375 next year. The revenue projection for this year is 600 billion baht.

The authority is maintaining next year's domestic projection of 87 million trips, with revenue of 407 billion baht.

Deputy governor for international marketing Santichai Eua-Chongprasit said the three key negative factors were oil prices, world economic uncertainty, and fewer flights into the Kingdom.

He said the travel industry, especially the long-haul segment, would be affected as the oil price could climb to US$200 (6,800 baht) per barrel.