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The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) has predicted that the 8.6-Richter magnitude earthquake, which occurred in Sumatra Island on Wednesday, will hurt the Thai tourism business for the next few months.
According to ATTA Chairman Sitdiwat Cheevarattanaporn, the recent earthquake will affect tourists’ decision to travel to provinces where tsunami warning were previously issued, especially Phuket, during the Songkran Festival. It is expected that the impact will last for at least 2-3 months due to the lack of confidence in security among tourists. Although the tsunami did not occur, it is hardly possible to guarantee that it will not. And in the case that it should happen, the degree of violence would be hard to predict.
Thus, tourists, especially the MICE groups, will most likely avoid visiting those areas, which will lead to a slowdown in tourist activities as well as trip cancellations. However, the exact cancellation rate will be determined within the next few days. The natural disaster is also expected to reduce local tourism towards the year-end.