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Thailand Sees Tourism Boom in 2010 Despite Red Shirt Protests

Posted on : 17-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand, Thailand Travel

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Red Shirts and violent uprisings may have dominated the news from Thailand in the first half of 2010, but it seems it will take more than two months of bloody protests to put tourists off visiting.

The southeast Asian nation is celebrating after announcing a 12.6 per cent rise in visitor numbers for the year so far, despite political turmoil and a shaky world economy.

Nearly 14 million people visited Thailand in the first 11 months of this year, a figure that is expected to rise to 15.8 million by the end of this month.

Beachseller on a beach in Koh Samui
Welcome boost: Thailand has seen a surge in visitor numbers in 2010

But while British visitor numbers remain strong, it is actually Indian and Middle Eastern tourists that are the country’s fastest-growing markets.

Visitors from other south Asian countries also remained the most loyal, still visiting in large numbers even in the height of the country’s violence.

Protests in Bangkok during April and May killed 92 people and even saw the international airport closed at one point, causing unease among potential visitors.

But, despite the bloody images beamed around the world, Thailand still managed to generate £12.3bn through tourism in 2010 – no mean feat in a year when many chose to holiday close to home to keep costs down.

Red Shirts carry the bodies of killed protesters through the streets
Bloodshed: The Bangkok protests saw 92 people killed

However, the holiday hotspot could well become a victim of its own success in 2011.

The Thai baht currency is becoming stronger, making the country more expensive for foreign visitors.

Thailand’s affordability has always been a big selling point for tourists looking for cheap but exotic package holidays.

However, to combat a possible dip in numbers, the country is planning on targeting emerging markets such as China and Indonesia as well as Brazil and Argentina.

So it could be a very international set populating the beaches of Phuket in the future.

Read more: at the DailyMail