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Waning Consumer Confidence Hits Thai Tourism

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Tourism businesses in Thailand are continuing to count the cost of the continued political unrest in the country as consumer confidence dropped to a 12 year low.

Tourist arrival figures rose just 0.06 percent in January from a year earlier, after growing about 20 percent in all of 2013.

Against this backdrop, hotelier Erawan Group this week cut its 2014 revenue growth target to just 2 percent from 10-15 percent. It said the unrest has dragged its occupancy rates in Bangkok down to 50 percent in the first quarter from 83 percent in the same period the previous year.

"Travel warnings by countries will affect the hotel business in the first half. But we expect it to rebound quickly in the second half if the political situation eases," said Kanyarat Krisnathevin, executive vice president at Erawan.

After months of protests aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thais have become reluctant to spend and tourists are staying away, weighing on sales at hotels and other tourism-related businesses. The downward trend in spending is seen continuing in the coming months.

(Reuters)