Travelers Experience Thai History
With the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, many travelers did not know what to expect. For some, especially first time visitors, there was a lot of anxiety. Others pushed forward with their travel plans with confidence.
For most, this was a completely unprecedented event as the Thai King was the world’s longest reigning monarch. Many travelers visiting the Kingdom didn’t quite know what to expect as the news unfolded across the globe.
Thailand entered a period of mourning, but transportation, business, and tourism continues. The good news is, it’s more or less business as usual with respect to tourism which makes up 10% of the Thai GDP.
We took to the streets an interviewed tourists from the United States, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, and Romania. The travelers we spoke with all had a deep respect for the Thai people and their King while explaining the national unity they’ve experienced and the cultural significance of being in Bangkok as history is unfolding.
Watch our video to see what the tourists have to say.
Current Situation For Travelers
Tourists are traveling across Thailand without problem, according to everyone we’ve spoken with not only in Bangkok, but tourists in Krabi, Pattaya, and Phuket. While some entertainment venues closed and events either cancelled or toned down, they were not visiting Thailand to party and felt the measures were appropriate.
In the resort city of Krabi, we spoke to a tourist from India. The traveler said, “Krabi was good and really nice. I actually wish I would have stayed a few more days.” He continued, “They were not selling alcohol in hotels until October 17th, but beers were available in restaurants until midnight.”
However, this did not disappoint as he wasn’t here to party. He further exclaimed, “Transportation was good and reliable while quality of the food was awesome in Krabi.” With respect to transportation, he said the airports were great and his flight from Krabi (KBV) to Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport (DMK) was an enjoyable experience.
In the popular resort city of Pattaya, a British tourist said, “Everyone was really sad (the) night the King passed and you could tell everyone loved the King very much. I felt sad myself as I like friendliness and smiles of the Thai people.” The following day, he was impressed with how everyone was dressed primarily in black to pay respect and honor the King. He concluded, “While there was sadness, which I fully understand and respect, it was business as usual the following day.”
Tourists we spoke with in Phuket felt this was a sad, yet historical moment for the nation. The group of five from Canada recognized the historical importance of the event and were planning on traveling to Bangkok to take part and pay respect to the people and the King.
Thailand Tourism Going Forward
We’ve spoken with travel analysts as well as international airlines serving Thailand. Short-term demand with air travel to Thailand is expected to be soft. On the flipside, this is great news for travelers as this will likely result in lower airfares and competitive hotel rates.
At the moment, there are no plans to cancel flights or downgauge to smaller aircraft as the airline industry views this as a short-term event. Travel analysts have expressed a similar viewpoint, but there is some uncertainty among the analysts as to whether we’re looking at about one or three months. Regardless, the long-term outlook remains good and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will continue marketing Thailand.
The primary morning period will be for 30 days, but the government has announced a formal mourning period of one year. Upcoming events such as Loy Krathong, New Year Countdown celebrations, and even Songkran 2017 are expected to be “toned down.”
While things may be toned down as a result of the King’s death, an unprecedented historical event, tourism continues. On a final note, many have told us, while the loss of the beloved King is sad, it’s both a cultural and historical experience they’ll never forget.
USEFUL INFORMATION: Status of Events, Festivals, and Tourist Attractions
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