Rioting Red Shirts affect Tourism in Thailand

Added 15/04/2010

Wooden boats in bay

Some of the major tourist areas in central Bangkok were blockaded by anti-government protestors, known as the Red Shirts. The protestors demanded for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down.

The riots began relatively peacefully, but soon turned violent; 21 people were killed, some shot at close range, while hundreds were left wounded. The Red Shirts claim they will not stand down until the government has dissolved.

After weeks of protesting, there seems to be no end in sight, and the Red Shirts are determined to stick to their guns.

It seems some travellers are not going to let the political situation dissuade them from visiting Thailand, while others are discovering the benefits of alternative Asian destinations.

British travellers have long favoured Thailand as a holiday destination due to its amazing culture, unusual wildlife, delicious food and spectacular beaches.

Visitor numbers to Thailand are up 39% on last year in spite of the recent political unrest in Bangkok. But the surrounding Asian countries have seen an even greater rise, as travellers look for an alternative holiday destination in the wake of the Bangkok riots.

Tourism in Indonesia has risen by 116% this year, while Vietnam is up by 94% and Malaysia by 79%.

Compared to Thailand, Vietnam has cheaper prices on drinks and amenities. Thai beer averages at £1.56, compared to 90p in Vietnam. Meanwhile, a taxi in Vietnam will only cost around 33p per kilometre, around a quarter of the price of taxi fares in Thailand.

If you are planning a trip to Thailand, make sure you buy travel insurance to cover you in the event of lost luggage or medical emergencies. offers travel insurance policies for people of any age, even those with pre existing medical conditions.