Thailand tourism officials are projecting an increase in visitors. That is hard to fathom, but we'll see.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is considering ending the night curfew in more areas popular with tourists, an army officer said on Friday.
The areas under consideration by army chief and coup leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha include Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Cha-am district of Phetchaburi province, Krabi province and Hat Yai district of Songkhla province, Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, the NCPO secretary-general told a daily meeting.
The curfew already ended in Pattaya city, Koh Samui in Surat Thani province and Phuket island. Other areas in the country are still under curfew from midnight to 4am.
The curfew is driving away many tourists, who changed their destinations to other countries.
Tourist arrivals in Thailand fell in May but the Tourism Department is optimistic that full-year numbers will exceed their original target after the junta lifted the curfew in the three popular travel destinations.
Tourist arrivals in May totalled 1,736,744, down 10.7% compared with the same period last year, Arnupap Gaesornsuwan, director-general of the Tourism Department, said on Thursday.
Statistics from the department showed tourist arrivals in the first five months of 2014 reaching 10,357,388, a drop of 5.9% from a year earlier.
The curfew is also dealing a heavy blow to cross-border tourism, with Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat province hit especially hard.
Malaysian tourists visiting the border district dropped by half from about 2,000 visitors a week, according to Saengthong Preechawutthidet, president of the Sungai Kolok Hotel Operator Association.
The association will seek help from the chambers of commerce in southern border provinces to convince the NCPO to end the curfew in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces, he told the Matichon Online.
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Photo Credit: Lalu is natural wonders and has become a tourist attraction At Sa Kaeo province of Thailand. Getty Images
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