Southeast Asia’s top tourist destination can’t seem to break out of its slump. Supporters of two major political parties have been clashing in the streets. Former PM Samak Sundaravej was forced from office following scandals and protests. Now, just two weeks into his run as prime minister, Somchai Wangsawat, Samak’s replacement, is under investigation for breaking the government rules about owning shares in companies that do business with the government (it’s an obvious conflict of interest). If charged, he could be tossed out of the government.
While other nations in the region seek to bolster their position as economic players and tourist destinations, Thailand is hurting. The recent riots led to a spate of cancellations. Tourist numbers for the country that once dominated Southeast Asia’s vacation trade are down. And those who are looking for any sign that things are going to get better are only able to find evidence of a worsening situation. Thailand has always bounced back from political woes before. However, with other regional player like Vietnam gaining steam, would-be tourists have other options these days. Why opt for uncertainty when there are other viable destinations out there?