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Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand

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The rise and rise of the Thai Baht, and it’s pushing through the 31.05 to the US Dollar barrier on Wednesday, tops off a turbulent decade of movement against some of the western currencies. The decade’s currency rise has also been matched by a meteoric explosion in tourism pushing Thailand into the top ten list of popular tourist locations in the world.

In 2009 Thailand attracted 14,149,841 tourists. In 2018 it pushed through 38 million and the projection is that it will surpass 40 million by the end of 2019.

The common narrative in social media (including comments on The Thaiger’s Facebook page) has been that the rise of the Thai Baht against western currencies is ‘killing off’ tourism from traditional western markets.

The statistics don’t tend to bear out this sentiment.

There’s no doubt the ‘big mover’ in tourist arrivals in the past decade has been the Chinese, rising from 778,000 in 2009 to 10,536,000 last year – a staggering surge and a profound change to the tourist mix in the Land of Smiles. At the same time the largest demographic of tourists into Thailand, the ASEAN countries, has risen from 3,969,000 to 10,284,000 last year, a large rise in regional tourism which has also had a big impact on Thailand’s tourist numbers.

But the rises have also come from most of the western countries during the same decade, whilst their currencies have preformed poorly against the Thai baht. Generally, as the Baht has risen against their currencies, more of their tourists have been visiting Thailand, albeit not with the same vigour of the Chinese tourist numbers.

So the western tourists are not ‘fleeing in droves’ but continue to be important sectors of the Thai tourist mix.

Another notable rise and fall in the past decade has come from the Russian market. In 2009 there were 337,000 Russians arriving in Thailand. In 2018 there was 1,473,000, but the peak was in 2013 when the figure reached 1,747,000 arrivals.

United Kingdom and the Pound

In the ten years since 2009 the annual arrivals in Thailand has risen from 841,000 to 987,000 (figure rounded to the nearest 1000) tourists in the Land of Smiles last year. The peak year for UK travellers was 2016 when the numbers topped the 1 million mark (1,003,000). The British have been consistent travellers to Thailand, even if the figure isn’t rising much compared to some of the other nationalities. During the same period the Pound’s drop has been noticeable and still going through a few Brexit bumps.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by Thaiger

United States and US$

In the past decade Thailand has become a firm favourite for the travel plans of US citizens, from 627,000 in 2009 to 1,123,248 visitors last year. Their currency has had much more of a roller coaster ride during the decade but the band of change more narrow than some of the other world currencies, between 31-36.5 Baht to the US Dollar. Back in 2013 the US Dollar was even lower against the Thai Baht than it is now.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by Thaiger

Australians and the Oz Dollar

Australians coming to Thailand have definitely felt the pinch with a gradual plunge of their spending power dropping from 33 baht to the AUD in 2012 to be around 21 baht to the AUD now. But tourism by Aussies has been quite consistent, from 647,000 in 2009 to 802,000 in 2018. Arrival numbers peaked in 2012 when it reached 930,000 visitors to Thailand.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by Thaiger

Europeans and the Euro

The Euro has also seen a steady decade-long slide from a peak around 50 Euro to the Thai Baht down to around 35 Euro now. The two largest European feeder markets have been French and German tourists.

• French tourists have been steady arrivals in Thailand. In 2009 there were 427,000 and has risen to 750,000 in 2018.

• German arrivals have steadily grown from 573,000 a decade ago to 890,000 German tourists visiting Thailand in 2018.

• Swedish tourists have been steady throughout the decade banding between 351,000 arrivals in 2009 and 312,000 last year.

Myth: Strong baht deterring western tourists to Thailand | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Wikipedia | xe.com | Ministry of Tourism

 

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Clive Goodwin

    Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    This story needs revisiting. A hotel rep told me tourism in Phuket was down 31% this year (Xmas 2019) and more worryingly for him was the reduction in westerners, uk, Australia, USA, Europeans, the people who spend money, rather than the Asians that now make up 84% of tourism.

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Thailand

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals

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Stock photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

The tally for Covid-related infections and deaths reported over the past 24 hours reports 19 new deaths and 2,419 cases. There have been 52,411 confirmed Covid-19 infections in the recent outbreak with more than 16,000 cases in Bangkok, the epicentre of infections. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has reported a total of 81,274 Covid-19 infections and 382 coronavirus-related deaths.

Thailand now has 29,473 active Covid-19 cases. Most patients with Covid-19 are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. More than 1,000 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition including 380 people on ventilators.

Out of the 2,419 new cases, more than 1,000 cases were detected in Bangkok. Most cases were local transmissions or detected through active case finding.

Of the 19 new coronavirus-related deaths, most were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The majority of deaths were the elderly and many of them contracted the virus from infected family members or friends.

Over the past week, new clusters of Covid-19 infections have been detected in crowded Bangkok neighbourhoods, including the Klong Toey slum, Ban Khing and Bang Kae districts. Poor communities in Bangkok have been seen as vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks as people live in close proximity to each other and many cannot afford to stop working to abide by stay-at-home orders. CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says active case finding in Bangkok clusters have been “beefed up.”

With cases in Bangkok still on the rise, the current disease control measures imposed in the capital will be extended until May 17. Schools and entertainment venues must remain closed.

Provincial totals, thanks to the NBT…

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerSaturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerDistricts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toey 37
Ratchathewi 26
Pathumwan 24
Bang Kapi 13
Chatuchak 11
Don Mueang 9
Lat Phrao 9
Dusit 8
Yan Nawa 7
Wang Thonglang 7

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

Saturday Covid UPDATE: 2,419 new infections and 19 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 7 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19: Thailand struggles with South and Southeast Asia

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FILE PHOTO: Thailand struggles with its devastating third wave of Covid-19

In 2020, Thailand was hailed worldwide for its iron-fisted lockdown that curbed Covid-19 spread almost completely. Thailand was the second country in the world after China to identify a Covid-19 infection in January of last year but managed to keep its numbers impressively low, at least until December’s second wave of outbreaks. That wave drove the numbers up to nearly 29,000 Covid-19 infections in a nation of more than 69 million people, from the onset of Covid-19 in 2020 to the end of March 2021. But its devastating third wave struck in April and in just 5 weeks that number has more than doubled to above 76,000 Covid-19 infections.

Daily infection rates are now hovering around 2,000 per day with 1,911 reported yesterday. When a new Covid-19 cluster was identified in the elite nightclub scene of Bangkok’s Thonglor district, 196 entertainment venues were closed for 2 weeks. But as the virus spread throughout the nation the closures followed too and soon all nightlife venues were closed indefinitely. As infections grew, the Thai New Year came and while most Songkran activities and events were cancelled, many people still went on holiday to cities or beaches or travelled to be with their families in their hometowns. Despite warnings and attempts at contact tracing and testing, Covid-19 infections surged in Thailand after the holiday.

With the influx of new infections, hospitals began to fill up quickly and waiting lists formed to obtain a hospital bed. The government required anyone in Thailand who tested positive for Covid-19 to be immediately admitted to hospital for observation and treatment. This may have done more harm than good as there were reports of Bangkok hospitals refusing to administer Covid-19 tests because they didn’t have the capacity to take in any patient that came back positive.

Field hospitals have been set up using conference centres and sports arenas, and the country launched a plea for hotels to convert into “hospitels” – a hospital-hotel hybrid that could treat asymptomatic and low-needs patients and free up space for those in need of more intense medical care.

Vaccination has been slow and the government has come under frequent fire for their inefficient roll out. Confusion is constant with conflicting reports of deals being reached with vaccine manufacturers, delays in shipments and domestic manufacturing, questions about how to get a vaccine, and whether or not foreigners and expats in Thailand are even eligible for Covid-19 vaccination and at what cost.

This week the government push to vaccinate 50,000 people in core and dense areas in Bangkok after an outbreak of 300 new cases in the neighbourhood. But as of now, only 2 out of every 100 people have been vaccinated for Covid-19 in Thailand, a discouraging statistic when even India, in the midst of its catastrophic outbreak, has vaccinated 12 people out of every 100.

Here’s how Thailand compares to ASEAN members and neighbouring countries:

COUNTRY CASES PER 1M (Wikipedia) AT LEAST 1 DOSE
Worldwide 20,072 8.11%
Brunei 515 2.45%
Cambodia 1,153 9.61%
India 15,796 9.5%
Indonesia 6,359 4.76%
Laos 165 1.73%
Malaysia 13,071 2.83%
Maldives 89,035 (pop. < 1m) 55.53%
Myanmar 2,629 1.84%
Nepal 12,287 7.18%
Philippines 9,957 1.63%
Singapore 10,745 23.32%
Sri Lanka 5,477 4.33%
Thailand 1,186 1.72%
Vietnam 32 0.69%

Read about the current Covid-19 situation in countries around South and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, The Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

SOURCE: CNN

 

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Thailand

American arrested for alleged murder in Chiang Mai has past record of abuse in Colorado

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Photo via Facebook/ตำรวจภูธรจังหวัดน่าน

The American man who was recently arrested for allegedly murdering his pregnant Thai wife in Chiang Mai had been sentenced to 2 years of probation back in 2019 on assault charges after his gun went off while he was threatening a woman in Colorado. A report from the Associated Press says it appears to be the same woman.

Jason Matthew Balzer, 32, had initially faced attempted murder charges for assaulting a woman in Longmont, Colorado, but those charges were dropped. A Boulder District Attorney’s Office spokesperson told a local reporter in a previous report that “in every case, we need witnesses to testify at a trial. Unfortunately, due to issues with the victim’s availability, the higher charge had to be dismissed.”

The victim had called the police saying Jason had asked to have sex and then assaulted her when she said “no,” according to the arrest report. She told police he hit her face and slammed her head onto the bed’s headboard several times before taking out a revolver and threatening to kill her, the report says. The woman told police she pushed the gun and it went off near her head.

Balzer pled guilty to third-degree assault in December 2019 and was sentenced to 2 years of probation. In December 2020, Jason was arrested in Colorado after police allegedly found 73 guns in his van. Possession of firearms is a violation of probation. It’s unclear when Jason travelled to Thailand.

Since the case in Colorado involved a victim of domestic violence, the name was redacted in public court records, but a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office told AP reporters that the victim has the same name as the woman killed in Thailand. Based on photographs, the spokesperson says they appear to be the same person.

On Thursday, Jason was arrested in Chiang Mai. Reports say he confessed to stabbing and killing his wife, 32 year old Pitchaporn Kidchop, who was 3 months pregnant. Police say Jason sealed his wife’s body in a garbage bin before taking it to the woods about 5 kilometres away. In Thailand, a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

Local police posted photos of the crime reenactment on Facebook. In Thailand, it is common for suspects to admit to crimes and reenactment the crimes to law enforcement officers and the press.

 

SOURCE: Time Call | Associated Press

 

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