It’s no monkey business. Humans are not the only ones affected by the coronavirus outbreak; Monkeys in Southern Thailand’s Songkhla province are also suffering. Above all from a shortage of food that normally comes from foreign tourists.
Malaysian and Singaporean tourists who usually visit Songkhla have cancelled their tours amid worries over the spreading coronavirus, leading to less food for monkeys since the animals rely on tourists for their daily food.
After seeing the monkeys starve, local fruit vendors have started giving them watermelon and tomatoes. Thai tourists meanwhile are giving them corn.
According to Asia One, the locals have asked the Songkhla municipality to take care of the monkeys. Above all since they are one of the most popular tourist attractions generating income for the province.
Coronavirus hammering tourism
Meanwhile the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) cut its estimate for international arrivals to 33 million in 2020.
Thai Tourism businesses have been hammered by the coronavirus panic spreading around the country.
On Thursday TAT cut its outlook for foreign arrivals this year to 33 million. Down 3 million from the latest target of 36 million and 6-7 million shy of the 2019 total of 39.8 million.
Domestic tourism is shaky as hoteliers experienced weaker demand. Above all from corporate meetings and seminars that were cancelled as fears of the virus escalated.
Suksit Suvunditkul, chief executive of Deevana Hotels and Resorts and vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter, said hotels are receiving more cancellations from government agencies and private companies such as banks.
The destinations that target the meeting and incentive market such as Krabi have an occupancy rate of around 65%, down from 85-90% in a normal situation. While hotels in Phuket town that target the domestic market saw guests drop by 80%.
Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn, president of TTAA, said this is the most difficult situation he has experienced in 30 years of working in the industry.