A government office in Thailand said Friday that the Aug. 17 Erawan shrine bombing that killed 20 people would have little impact on the economy, predicting it would take only 0.05 percent off of the country’s gross domestic product, according to a report from local English-language newspaper the Bangkok Post. The Fiscal Policy Office’s Deputy Director General Ekniti Nitithanprapas said that the tourism-dependent nation is expected to see a downturn in holiday travelers with a loss of approximately 300,000 foreign visitors over the next several months.
“The bombing will certainly not cause a huge impact to the number of foreign tourists, as feared by many people,” Nitithanprapas said. “The tourism sector will return to normal in time for the [November-April] high season. Tourism will continue to be an important factor supporting the growth of the Thai economy.”
While the Thai government is reporting a quick bounce-back, The Telegraph reported that the bombing has caused a 17 percent drop in tourists, with daily arrivals to the Southeast Asian nation falling to 70,000 a day from 85,000. However, the head of the World Travel and Tourism Council told the Telegraph that he expects tourism numbers to rebound and has not seen any mass cancellations in vacations for the next six months.
Revenue from tourism makes up approximately 7 percent to 10 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product. Nitithanprapas told the Bangkok Post that he believes Thailand’s economic growth will hit 3 percent despite the attack.
The Erawan shrine, a Hindu site popular with Buddhists and tourists, has reopened since the bombing in a busy area of Bangkok. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the bombing was the worst ever attack on his country. Fourteen tourists were among those killed in the blast and other tourists sustained injuries. The youngest victim was a 4-year-old girl, according to reports.
Without naming the suspect, Thai police said on Friday that it had issued a warrant in the attack. However, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack and motives remain unclear.
Thailand's tourism sector has managed to bounce back from previous instability, including political unrest in 2014 and the massive Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.