Stone warrior
PHOTO
Stone warrior
Thai fabrics
PHOTO
Thai fabrics
River taxi
PHOTO
River taxi
Entrance
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Entrance
orchids
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orchids
Figures
PHOTO
Figures
City
PHOTO
City
Facade
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Facade
Boat
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Boat
Friends
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Friends
The combination of global economic slowdown and regional political protest spells dim prospects for Thailand's tourism industry.  CNN reports on this emerging story:
 
A current round of protests -- marked by the cancellation of the Association of South East Asian Nations summit in the southern coastal city of Pattaya this past weekend -- is bound to further drive tourism business away from the country.

"If people are deciding between a beach getaway in Fiji or Thailand, which do you think they'll choose now?" said Pete Cooper, an Australian business consultant based in Bangkok.

The battle between the "yellow shirts," supporters of the current government, and "red shirts" -- protesters now on the streets in support of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- has tourists glued to television sets, while curfews have been set in Bangkok, the nation's capital.
 
[...]
 
The government has launched a $143 million drive to boost its tourism industry, which lost an estimated $8.3 billion dollars after the December blockade of Bangkok's airports. In the wake of the violent protests, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia and Singapore have issued advisories warning about travel to Thailand.
 
Between 1985 and 1996, Thailand is said to have enjoyed the world's highest growth rate.  The Thai baht was pegged at 25 to the US dollar from 1978 to 1997, and reached its lowest point of 56 to the US dollar in January 1998.  Thailand's economy recovered starting in 1999, expanding 4.2% and 4.4% in 2000.
 
Growth after 2001 accelerated, with growth from 2002 through 2004 reaching 5-7% annually. Growth between 2005 and 2007 averaged between four and five percent, but due to a weakened US dollar and a resurgent baht, by March 2008, the dollar was hovering around the 33 baht mark.