Thailand’s loss may turn out to be good news for Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia

Political unrest in Thailand, which is amongst the top leisure destinations for Indians, has put the Southeast Asian country off the travel list of many, with people either cancelling trips or dropping its capital Bangkok from their itinerary.

Thailand’s loss may turn out to be good news for Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia, which are now seeing higher enquiries. Also, as these destinations require a higher budget, people are also looking at domestic getaways.

Anti-government protesters have been waging a campaign in Bangkok to oust the embattled premier Yingluck Shinawatra. The situation has dealt a blow to the sentiment-dependent tourism sector. “There has definitely been an impact on people travelling to Thailand from India. Bookings are down by 15-20 per cent,” Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com, told The Hindu.

Some customers are still opting for other destinations such as Pattaya or Phuket. But industry experts are not sure whether these destinations will continue to attract tourists, given the political unrest.

Karan Anand, Head-Relationships, Cox and Kings, said: “The unrest in Bangkok has impacted tourism, however, as Thailand is popular people are skipping Bangkok and flying directly to Pattaya, Chang Mai, Krabi, etc.”

Many are though cancelling the plans to travel to Thailand all together. “Those who are avoiding Thailand are travelling to Malaysia and Singapore for a holiday,” he says.

Mr. Dhall says Thailand works well with people travelling on a low budget (it costs Rs. 20,000-25,000 a person). Hence, he expects to see a step-up in budget for travelling to other destinations. “People are looking at Dubai and Singapore, These destinations cost over Rs.35,000-40,000 a person. So, we will see a step-up in budgets. Due to budget issues, people are also looking at domestic vacations… Andaman, Kerala and Goa are seeing traction.”

Mohit Gupta, Chief Business Officer-Holidays, MakeMyTrip, says: “Queries for Thailand continue to be among the highest, but with the Emergency being declared there, travellers will consider Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia as the other options to holiday in Southeast Asia.”