Thailand heatwave severely impacts outdoor tourism

Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand

The sweltering heat in Thailand is deterring tourists from participating in outdoor activities, prompting the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to explore the promotion of early morning and evening tourism in an attempt to stabilise the market.

The CEO of Siam Park City Group, which operates Siam Amazing Park, Wuthichai Luangamornlert, stated that the intense heat resulted in a 5-10% decrease in footfall at its water park this week.

This has subsequently led to a 10% drop in consumer spending, which he attributes to reduced economic confidence and an increase in living costs, specifically electricity bills, said Wuthichai.

“It seems that after the Chinese New Year holiday, the market weakened as average temperatures began to rise rapidly. During the Songkran festival, we saw a 10% dip in guest traffic compared to the previous year.”

A change in local tourist behaviour was also observed, with many opting for air-conditioned shopping centres at weekends rather than visiting the water park due to the stifling heat.

The tourism industry is facing challenging times, with costs rising by 10-20% since the start of the year, largely due to energy and labour costs. To adapt, Siam Amazing Park has begun utilising solar power.

Funding problem

Wuthichai, who also holds the position of chairman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, warned that not all operators have the necessary funds to weather this downturn in the market, with many unable to secure bank loans.

Consequently, with the high season and school holidays already over, some operators could struggle with high interest rates if their income remains static.

In response to the heatwave, Somradee Chitchong, the Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing at TAT, said the agency plans to redirect its promotional campaigns towards early morning and nighttime tourism.

Somradee acknowledged that the extreme weather has dissuaded Thai citizens, particularly elders, from travelling. Many are choosing indoor activities or sites with a cooler climate, such as waterfalls, over outdoor venues, including temples.

Additionally, some travellers are opting to remain in their hotels and partake in in-house activities instead of venturing outside.

To boost revenue for local operators who are suffering losses due to the weather, TAT intends to promote activities suitable for the morning, evening, and night, such as running, boat paddling, and stargazing.

Somradee also revealed that TAT has plans to enhance the market during the rainy season, especially in Northern and North-Eastern Thailand, to offset losses caused by the PM2.5 toxic haze which lingered in these areas for longer than anticipated, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

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