Thailand received about 30 million visitors last year, a number that is expected to reach a record high this year because of an influx from China. Tourism contributed US$81 billion (HK$628.3 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product in 2015, nearly 21 per cent, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Nightclub workers are worried about their lost wages and tour companies and airlines about declining business, although most experts think that the impact on tourism will be modest in the long term.
The V8 Diner in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok was closed for two days and reopened on Sunday, for example, losing about US$2,800 of business in the process.
“We didn’t feel like working anyway in this kind of mood,” says Bam, the manager. “Everybody was crying.” Like most of those interviewed for this article, she declined to give her full name because of concern over Thailand’s strict laws against defaming the king.Nobody is really sure when the nightclubs will reopen. Maya, the manager of Bangkok Bunnies A Go Go, who also did not feel comfortable giving her last name, says hopefully in a week. Many of her dancers have left the city to return to their home villages to wait out the break, she said.
One Australian bar owner in the bustling Khaosan Road area, which is popular with backpackers, gave his customers paper cups to discreetly sip their beer in case police were watching.