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Bangkok Tourists Vanish on Floods Leaving Shangri-La Bar Empty

Posted on: Nov 06, 2011

Saijai Sooksai kills time by arranging and rearranging T-shirts imprinted with Ferrari and Ralph Lauren logos at her streetside stall in Bangkok’s main tourist district. She has little else to do as Thailand’s record floods deter visitors.

“Business is really bad as tourists from Europe and the Middle East have almost all vanished,” said Saijai, who has run a stall on Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road near the Nana area for more than a decade. “I should be easily getting 10,000 baht ($326) a day this time of year, but now I earn only a couple of hundred some days -- not even enough to cover my rent.”

While central Bangkok has avoided flooding so far, hotels and office buildings have erected walls of sandbags to protect against waters that have killed more than 500 people nationwide. The threat has also deterred tourists, forcing Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. to cut flights, hitting reservations at Shangri-La Asia Ltd. hotels and contributing to the central bank cutting its growth forecast.

“The leisure business has disappeared for the time being,” Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer John Slosar said on Nov. 4 at an airline association meeting in Seoul. “If you have an option to go, probably you won’t because nobody can quite tell what you’ll get when you get there.”

The airline has cut one of its five daily services to Bangkok, and is only filling about 50 percent of seats on its remaining flights, he said. Normally, the flights would be around 80 percent full, he said. Disruptions may not last long, he said.

Source - bloomberg

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