It’s not only humans being affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak; monkeys in the southern province of Songkhla, usually dependent on food from tourists, are facing a shortage. Tourists from Singapore and Malaysia, normally abundant in Songkhla, are cancelling tours amid worries over the outbreak, resulting in far less daily food for the monkeys there.
Local fruit vendors, taking pity on the starving critters, have begun giving them watermelon and tomatoes. Thai tourists tend to give them corn.
“Health is quite a sensitive topic, especially when we are facing the global spread of a deadly disease, which has a psychological impact on potential tourism.”
According to Asia One, the locals have asked the Songkhla municipality to take care of the monkeys, as they are one of the most popular tourist attractions generating income for the province.
Thai tourism businesses are taking a beating from the effects of the virus. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) yesterday cut its estimate for 2020 international arrivals to 33 million, down 3 million from the latest target of 36 million, and 6-7 million short of the 2019 total of 39.8 million.
Domestic tourism is down as hoteliers experienced weaker demand, largely from meetings and seminars that have been cancelled as fears of the virus escalate.
SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times
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