Tourism Slump Hits Thailand

Its been a rough year for the tourism trade in Thailand. First, the country suffered through a change of power in its government that saw a shutdown of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport for eight days, and now the increasingly gloomy global economy is having an impact as well.

According to this story, from Reuters, the normally bustling hotels, restaurants, and clubs in Bangkok and the beach resorts along the southern coast, are experiencing just 25% occupancy for the month of December, and projections are not good for 2009 as a whole. The country gets 6% of it’s revenues directly from tourism, but as the article notes, that flows into other areas as well, with taxi drivers, antique dealers, and gem merchants, amongst others, all feeling the pinch.

What does that mean for us? Well, quite possibly you’ll be able to find some amazing deals for travel in Thailand in 2009. The pristine beaches, luxury hotels, and great restaurants will still be there. But they’ll be much less crowded and more willing to help us stretch our dollars even further.

If you’re not into the Thai beach scene, don’t ignore the northern part of the country. Jump an overnight train to Chang Mai for a completely different take on Thai culture. Or better yet, take in both the north and the south to get the whole experience. Chances it are you’ll be able to make the trip and save some money in the process.