In 2009, Thailand's international tourism market will likely decelerate steadily from 2008 because our tourism image has been tarnished by the seizure of Suvarnabhumi International Airport. As a result, many foreign tourists postponed trips to Thailand until the situation improves. The majority of these were short-haul tourists from Eastern Asia. Meanwhile, long-haul tourists from Europe, who have been the most important source of tourism income for Thailand since 2007, have dropped due to the impacts the economic crisis that has infected Europe.
Amid this gloomy outlook, the government and private sector should expedite plans to restore the confidence of foreign tourists toward security within our country, so that they may resume vacationing in Thailand. However, it will take some time for them to reassess this. As result, it is necessary that the domestic tourism market be promoted instead because this effort will not only help enhance liquidity within the Thai tourism industry over the short-term, but also discourage Thais from touring overseas, thus helping prevent money from flowing out.
KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) projects that the domestic tourist market will grow three percent in 2009, thanks to many boosts. It is expected that the number of Thai domestic excursions will total 87.2 million person/trips and that there will be THB400 billion flowing into the travel service business, growing by four percent, against the one-percent growth in 2008.