Air traffic crashes in the US… and tourism crashes in Thailand : everything is linked

Another Green Shoot in the US…

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today reported that passenger revenue, based on a sample group of carriers, fell 21 percent in August 2009 versus the same month in 2008 – the 10th consecutive month in which passenger revenue has declined from the prior year.

Six percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines in August while the average price to fly one mile fell 17 percent, a slight improvement over the 18 percent year-over-year yield decline observed in July. Revenue declines extended beyond the domestic United States to the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and Latin markets.

“The industry continues to see a reduction in the number of air travelers, despite double-digit declines in fares. While there are signs that improvement may be on the horizon, regrettably the demand for air travel remains weak,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. (ATA)

Weak ? 😉

And meanwhile in Thailand, you’re going to eat your Green Shoots Soup also.

Members of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) have seen their client numbers plunge 33 per cent, with only 1.12 million inbound tourists year to date as of this past Sunday.

The sharp decline signals a continuation of troubles in the tourism industry and is prompting more calls for urgent rescue measures.
Fewer tourists have led to liquidity shortages among operators, including Anuthat Chinnawong, owner of The Chill Resort Koh Chang. He killed himself at the resort earlier this month, a few days before a bank approved his request for a soft loan to clear his debts.
“We need the government’s help to ease operators’ financial problems, so they can stay in business,” he said
. (Nation)

Regarding the news from ATA in the US, nothing to add. Just another Green Shoots, the ones that the clown Obama likes.

And in Thailand ? Again no surprise (only the Green Shoots Lovers and the Recovery Hysterical Believers are surprised, and will be surprised tomorrow, over and over again).

A few keywords though : “We need government help… so we can stay in business“.

This guy has no clue. He didn’t understand, doesn’t understand and probably will never understand. They are just too dumb.

Peak Exports, Peak Tourism are just behind us. We won’t see the previous levels anytime soon. There is no point to ease the liquidity problems of those businesses : because they are doomed.

It’s not a liquidity problem, but a solvent demand problem.

Unemployment continues to rise in western countries… at fast pace. In the US, in Europe, in France for instance, but Spain too, it’s a disaster. PEOPLE WON’T TRAVEL TO THAILAND.

You don’t travel if you lost your job.


You can try to distort the facts, to light candles, to pray Budha or Allah, to jump naked into the Chaopraya River they won’t come. I repeat they won’t come back.

And hundred of thai companies, serving tourists, will just vanish.

We have too many hotels, too many “boutique hotels”, too many ridiculous spas, too many of everything.

Common sense and basic economic principles command the liquidation of those overcapacities.

But you can count on the stupid thai government, like all the other governments around the world : they will pour money into those companies !

Abhisit is trying very hard to win, this time for real, an election. 😉

16 Responses to “Air traffic crashes in the US… and tourism crashes in Thailand : everything is linked”

  1. 1 hotelier 25 September 2009 at 1:00 pm

    bangkok hotels run an avg occupancy of 75% this month and october, november december look pretty much on track.

    bangkok hotels do fairly well with occupancies, it is rather the rates that are under pressue.

  2. 2 ThaiCrisis 25 September 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Bangkok is not Thailand. 😉

    And as you say, prices are going down indeed. Nothing surprising there. High competition, fewer visitors = hotels are fighting to keep their shares of the pie.

    Is it sustainable ? For some sure, other will suffer.

    Biggest problem we face : duration.

    A “simple” recession gives a blow…. but then is followed by a “recovery”… And the cycle starts again.

    But what if… there is no recovery , at least for a long (unusual) period of time ? How long hotels (but it’s true for many other sectors) can sustain a big cut in their margins ?

    That’s the whole question.

    It’s a fight between the people who make their forecast based on past trends, and the people who see (evidences are plentyful) that we are not, absolutly not in a “classic” recession.

    I don’t believe in the recovery story. It’s a fiction. I think the crisis will last for years. Too many bubbles, too many imbalances, that have builded up for years… Who could expect that we could cure this pile of problems during a “classic” period of time, like 1 or 2 years ?

    It’s just wishful thinking.

  3. 3 Lothar 26 September 2009 at 7:28 am

    The question is: will they ever learn that there is a problem that can’t be fixed and instead to help the business owners with more debts and government money establish some kind of minimum social security net and then let the people fail?

    For me it is clear that this is an result of industrialization productivity. So if there is simply not enough work (work other people would or affort to pay for) what should they do?

    Capitalism is done – infinite growth is just not working. It has always been the final mistake in his theory.

    I read that 26 million (thats almost half of the population) depend in some way on the millions off small shops in Thailand. A structure that is under pressure by Tesco, Big C, Carefour and other supermarkets. If the government goes the same way as Germany there is no way to keep the small shops alive. The result would be much worse then the decline in tourists.

    Unfortunately there is no thai i can talk to who cares about it. Even the political red shirts are not “red” enough. So even Thaksins return wouldn’t make a difference.

  4. 4 Bedwyr 26 September 2009 at 8:59 am


    Bedwyr just got off the phone from a friend in Issan, whom it seems has been banned from ThaiVisa for holding ‘unacceptable’ and ‘tiresome’ views about the relative democratic credentials of the Thaksin Shinawatra and tha Abjisit Vejjaveja governments.

    It seems that after demolishing a few of the less rational Abhisit fans, he was warned that his ‘electioneering’ was unacceptable (despite the fact that no election is in progress). Who was this who did the warning you might ask? Some muppet calling himself “Dr Pat Pong” I guess we all know what he does for a hobby, don;t we?

    Anyway, when Dr Pat was asked if this was an official moderator’s warning for political views, said Dr Pong responded sniffily that it was not a mere moderators warning, he was an ADMIN and it was an ADMIN warning. Wooooooo! Serious stuff no doubt…

    Anyway, my friend was later banned for a couple of weeks for questioning a moderators decision (even though Dr Pong said he wasn’t acting as a moderator). Identity crisis anyone?

    In other words boys and girls, ThaiVisa has taken on the mantle of the thought police. The nail that stands up will be hammered down…

    Still, in a rare moment of pique, my normally amiable and rational friend promptly cancelled 3 insurance policies he bought through ThaiVisa. So Dr Pat Pong, if you are listening, well done, your ego trip just cost the ThaiVisa forum some dosh. Pretty moronic – yes? Still, it seems you have found a perfect home in Thailand, should fit in very nicely with the Abhisit govt. Say hello to Marky from Kev when you next see him would you old son?

    Bedwyr wonders if Dr Pat Pong is a computer user… if he is then perhaps Dr Pat Pong would be well advised by the owners of Thai Visa to let go of his wang for long enough to get a life. Or even a clue would be a useful start.

    Bedwyr further wonders where they find these people…

  5. 5 fall 26 September 2009 at 1:08 pm

    If Abhisit current performance is a campaign platform for election, then he’s history.

  6. 6 Lothar 26 September 2009 at 5:55 pm

    So welcome in the banned from ThaiVisa group. They kicked me out 3 years ago when i said that the whole Elite needs to go the french way twohundert years ago. (Interesting because ThaiVisa is founded and still owned by a french guy).

    ThaiVisa is just a commerical sales forum. They never cared a lot about politics anyway – of course because it is dominated by US Americans.

    But who gives a fuck. Look at the discussions there and you see that it’s really not worth to spend your valueable time with people whos political and economical education are not even reaching the level of a six year old.

    And if you look for a good restaurant in some BKK area you still have read access.

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 26 September 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I agree Lothar. Me too I stopped quite some time ago.

    Although TV can be very useful on specific topics (immigration laws and regulations for instance), and even entertaining, I just can’t stand their hysterical”moderation policy” for all matters linked to politics.

    But as you said, it’s commercial. I mean in the grand scheme of things, I don’t mind at all. But it has of course an influence over the content. TV is terrorized to be banned in Thailand.
    Hence, their “over” moderation policy.

  8. 8 Pricilla 26 September 2009 at 6:22 pm


    I’ll try to keep short as TC’s blog. Ages ago I got some “fan mail” PMed me on TV for taking down this Dr Patpong for his inane political views. Didn’t think much of it then. Recently asked him why he closed a thread questioning the safety of pig vaccines as it is all just discussion, seems he remembered me. He responded who was I and what credentials and degrees did I have as an authority on vaccines. Told him I was a chiropractor and asked what sort of doctor he was. He claimed a doctorate but wouldn’t tell in what and stated that I had no right to the title. Where I’m from I do, so I told him to shove off. Been kicked off there several times, bunch of fascists.

    I would agree with TC that Thailand may have has seen its peak tourism. Also agree this financial mess will drag on for years despite band-aides being applied via printing money which I believe to just be a scam for the next election that will only drag the problems out. Thais refuse to address the tourist problems giving the country international shame, and will no doubt throw some money at some preferred operators in trouble. There is no long term plan though, but what politician in any country has one.

  9. 9 Insanity 27 September 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Green Shoots Food Stamps

    Many economists & market analysts are predicting an end of the recession and growth going forward. My response is the numbers haven’t added up for years & regardless of what they claim, we are about to commence the next leg down into what will become known as the GREATEST DEPRESSION in history.

  10. 10 Insanity 27 September 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Further warning signs that WORSE IS YET TO COME:

    European Money figures show there’s trouble ahead.

    ‘If you look at the sheer scale of global stimulus this year, what shocks is how little has been achieved. China’s exports were down 23pc in August; Japan’s were down 36pc; industrial production has dropped by 23pc in Japan, 18pc in Italy, 17pc in Germany, 13pc in France and Russia and 11pc in the US.’

    The largest down turn in the German car industry ever suffered is coming. Note: 1 in 6 German of the German workforce work for, or are reliant on the car industry!
    The warnings are clear for Thailand: Tourist arrivals will continue to drop. The Thai government cannot help, & quoting TC, ‘hundred of Thai companies, serving tourists, will just vanish.’

  11. 11 ThaiCrisis 27 September 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks Bob to remind us the horrible figures for Japan in august. Absolutly no improvement whatsoever… Japan is a large trading partner of Thailand. And a large investor.

    I mean the situation is so easy to analyse…. But people don’t go into the details.

    For instance, the hike in auto sales in Europe/US… and hence the hike of the industrial production ? Cash for clunkers.

    In France it’s 1000 euros per vehicle ! But the budget exploded. Same in Germany. The gvt spent in 3 months what was budgeted for the year. But guess what, France has announced that it will be 700 euros in january and then 500 next july. And then zero.

    Could the morons explain to me why a middle class french, german or US individual who ENJOYS the cash for clunkers TODAY would BUY ANOTHER NEW CAR NEXT YEAR ?

    To please the clown Sarkozy ? To please Obama ? And all the other clowns of the G20 ?

    The morons, I’m sure, start to get my point : opportunity effect. The cars sold today, thanks to gvt support (with debt), will just vanish from sales figures next year… !

    And then ? Production will go down. Again. A lot.

    PLAY IT AGAIN SAM ! Back to square one. Minus one I should say.

    Thanks Mister Green Shoots. 😉

    Unless, the governments decide to GIVE CARS, FOR FREE 😉 They are so deseperate they could do it !

    But the morons are even unable to understand those basic inferences. The morons are thinking that some extraterrestrial life forms will come on Earth and will buy our cars. Or that hundred of millions of poor chinese and indian farmers will buy cars… built in Germany or in France. 😉

    They are living in a X-Files Movie : I Want To Believe.

    Ask a moron in the street : “do you want to become rich ? For free ? Would you like to be in good health ? For free ? And handsome too ? And do you want the recession to be over ? ”


    He wants to. So badly.

    He wants to believe.

  12. 12 Lloyd 28 September 2009 at 9:33 am

    Havining just spent the last 5 weeks travelling throughout Thailand and Loas, not including Pattaya, I would very much doubt if any hotels have had 75% occupancy this year.

    I stayed at the Majestic Grande, Landmark and Hilton Millenium hotels in Bangkok and all of them hardly looked busy and were offering various packages at rates up to 80% off, at the Landmark I paid less than 25% of the published rate for a suite!

  13. 13 ray 28 September 2009 at 4:29 pm

    what do u guys think of all these new smaller ” boutique hotels that are popping up all over bangkok? they have 20 to 30 rooms and charge between 1500 till 2800 baht per night. as lloyd saud he got gr8 delas at hotels he montioned whts going to happen to these boutique hotels?

    i am also asking because my friends have just opend one in sukhumvit road andasked me to invest and i declined because at 1500 per night i would prefer to stay at bigger hotels.
    just want to know what u guys think.

  14. 14 ThaiCrisis 28 September 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Good question Ray. Here is my opinion :

    1- yes indeed it’s like an epidemic.
    2- it’s a dumb marketing trick. They follow trend like sheeps. Everything is “boutique” now : hotels, spa, beaches, soda, my maid, my car, restaurants etc. 😉
    It’s totally grotesque.
    3- bad value for money. Small hotels can’t compete with big ones. Quality of services is not the same. etc.

  15. 15 ray 29 September 2009 at 4:13 pm


    thats what i thought. boutique = overpriced guesthouse imho.

    but when u try to reason to the owners they refuse to accept. i live and do business in samui and there is no boutiqe hotels. just hotels 2,3,4 or five star or pool villas. and then u have guest houses that charge between 500 to 1,000 naht per night. ( makes sense)..

    right now some hotels are doing alright given the current economic situation but here is why
    1. these hotels have been in business for over 6 years.
    2. lots of old clients.
    3. cheaper rates.

    in the last 3 years alot of 2-3 stars hotels/resorts have done renovations to upgrade themselves. good u think? nope. they have increased the rates by 40% from pre renovations and these hotels are suffering. these are mom and pop resorts charginng 2000 to 3000 baht/night. then they renovate and now want 6000/night.

    occupancy dropped. and now they have to sell rooms for 2000-3000/night just to keep occupancy rates acceptable. i deal with tourists and tehy are really happy because of low rates( airfare and hotels). let see how this high season goes.
    keeping my fingers crossed!

  16. 16 Insanity 30 September 2009 at 3:53 pm

    So where are the tourists who can still travel to Asia going?

    Well here is one answer:

    Malaysia Received Around 22 Million International Tourists In 2008, AN INCREASE OF AROUND 5% over 2007! Seems even the Thai’s are going there (“Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand are important sources of visitors for the country.”)


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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