Foreign visitor arrivals to Thailand are estimated at 13.6 million, down nearly 7% from 14.6 million last year, due largely to local political strife and the global recession, according to the latest forecast by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata).

Pata chairwoman Phornsiri Manoharn said political havoc in April and periodic protests were to blame for the slump of foreign arrivals to Thailand this year.

According to a former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), foreign visitors remain concerned over their safety travelling in Thailand and have shifted to safer destinations.

Wary Chinese tourists in particular, who were expected to flood to Thailand this year, changed their destination to Taiwan.

Pata projected foreign visitors to Thailand in 2010 would grow by 4% to 14.1 million. The best case is 14.3 million or a 6% increase from this year’s estimate.

via Arrivals seen falling by 7%.

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