Air pollution hampers Thailand’s efforts to boost tourism

The Federation of Thai Industries has expressed concern that Thailand’s high air pollution levels will hamper the government’s efforts to boost the country’s tourism sector and welcome more visitors in 2023 as planned.

In the wake of the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions in China, Thailand is hoping to welcome up to 28 million international tourists in 2023, according to information from the NESDC (National Economic and Social Development Council).

Air pollution levels in the capital city of Bangkok have however spiked to unhealthy levels especially in February of this year, reaching 14 times the WHO recommended level.

This hazardous situation in the country has affected not only domestic commuting but international arrivals.

According to the chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries Kriengkrai Thiennukul, international tourists are having to either postpone travel plans to Thailand or abandon those plans entirely and head to other countries with better air quality.

This subversion of Thailand’s potential tourist numbers is in turn foiling the government’s intentions to grow the economy through tourism this year, especially after an economic decline that affected the country’s exports.

Thailand’s pollution control department blamed the growing air pollution on emissions from motor vehicles and fires started by local farmers for agricultural purposes.

“We have to intensify (efforts to tackle pollution) by encouraging people to work from home. For schools…they might have to avoid outdoor activities in order to prevent impacts on children’s health,” the department’s director general said in a news conference in February.

For the government of Thailand, solving the heightened air pollution problem in the country is as much a tourism issue as it is a public health issue, as the tourism sector is an immensely important contributor to the Thai economy.

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Umar Ali
I'm an adventurous traveler with an insatiable thirst for exploration. Whether it's wandering through winding alleys in bustling cities, trekking across rugged mountains, or lounging on a tropical beach, I am always seeking out new experiences and challenges.

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