Flooding in Thailand has affected tourism in 21 provinces and nationwide and is expected to slow tourism activities in the third quarter.
According to Yuthasak Supasorn, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, the third quarter is normally the peak time for corporate outings and incentives because hotel prices are extremely low during this time.
Furthermore, Thailand’s state agencies are required to use their remaining budgets by Sept 30, the last day of the current fiscal year.
A majority of corporate groups have already cancelled or postponed trips this month, affecting destinations in the East and Central areas due to mass flooding.
The agriculture sector is the hardest hit by flooding, and tourism in many places could be affected as buying power has decreased significantly,” said Mr Yuthasak.
Trip cancellations have the biggest impact on Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Chon Bur, Chanthaburi, Samut Songkram, Ratchaburi, and Hua Hin and Cha-am in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Several parts of the country have been hampered by heavy rain affecting floodwater drainage. This includes Khao Chamao National Park in Rayong where tourists were advised not to swim in the waterfalls.
In Chanthaburi, camping sites urged travelers to avoid outdoor activities such as trekking and camping.
The impact of downpours in the North might be minimal, as reservoirs can still absorb downstream flows if most rain occurs in reservoir-based areas.
While the rainfall forecast in October is estimated to be 10-20% above average, this region still needs to be closely monitored.
In the Northeast and South, flash flooding is still a possibility this month, especially in river basins and hill slopes.
Currently, 412,462 Rai of agricultural land along the Mun and Chi rivers have been inundated in more than 16 provinces in the Northeast according to areal flooding warnings.
In the midst of the peak season, Thailand could see a surge in domestic and international tourism in many areas and will need well-prepared management strategies to make sure that tourism activities are not effected by flooding in destination areas.
A total of 102.9 million domestic trips were made between January and August, generating 566 billion baht in revenue.
Based on a robust market in the fourth quarter, the TAT remains confident about its target of 160 million domestic trips and 656 billion baht in revenue.
According to Mr Yuthasak, “We are closely monitoring the situation and are concerned that La Nina has impacted Thailand more than expected, resulting in high rainfall and flash flooding.”
Meanwhile, Bangkok has been inundated by torrential rains as a large part of the city was under water.
The Bangkok Post reported that parts of the metropolis were underwater, including the Bang Khen district. Due to the rush of water, a number of sewer systems were overwhelmed.
As further heavy rainfall is predicted, Bangkok’s Governor Chadchart Sittipunt urged residents to be cautious, especially on the streets. The rising waters have already trapped many drivers.
Bangkok and the surrounding metro areas have been inundated for weeks by heavy, torrential rains which have paralyzed traffic, flooding roads, and stranded commuters.