Thailand must rush to restore public confidence and security levels to protect its tourism and retail sectors in the wake of Monday’s deadly bomb blast in Bangkok, according to a Singapore-based analyst.
Krystal Tan, an economist with Oxford Economics, said the government needs to work quickly to restore public confidence and instate prevention methods and efficient response teams.
“If they aren’t able to restore the public confidence, then Chinese tourists would start to cancel plans to Thailand, and that would be a very big impact because they are the key drivers behind tourism,” Tan said. “The Chinese are among the highest spenders, so that would definitely impact [the retail sector].”
The explosion, which killed at least 20 people, took place at Erawan Shrine, an area heavily trafficked by tourists and locals. Army spokesman Weerachon Sukondhadpatipak said the attack was “well-planned” and designed to draw international attention due to the attackers’ choice of location.
Across the street from Erawan Shrine is the popular CentralWorld and down the block is Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok’s biggest malls, which is often frequented by both locals and tourists. Tourism, which experienced a slump last year due to political protests, had largely recovered this year due to a substantial surge in Chinese tourists — more than 4 million traveled to Thailand in the first half of 2015.
Representatives from both Central Group and Mall Group — the companies that own CentralWorld and Siam Paragon, respectively — declined to comment on the incident.
If the explosions are politically motivated, then the risk of further violence is “quite heightened, especially since this is a politically sensitive period ahead of the new draft constitution next month,” Tan said.
Bangkok suffered another bomb blast Tuesday, when a pipe bomb exploded in Chao Phraya River, according to The Bangkok Post. Tourist and hotel boats frequently travel the waterway. No injuries were reported.