The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have expressed their sadness and shock on the bomb attack that took place in the centre of Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday, 17 August.
According to reports, an improvised device went off at about 7pm local time (noon GMT) at the Erawan Hindu shrine. At least 20 people died in the explosion, including nine foreigners, and more than 120 were injured.
On the behalf of the global tourism community, UNWTO offers its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and reiterates its full support to the people and the Government of Thailand.
“These are direct attacks on the livelihood of the Thai people and their economy which is strongly linked with tourism. We stand by the Government and the people of Thailand in supporting its tourism sector as a vital pillar of the wellbeing of Thai people”, said UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai.
“Terrorism is a global threat impacting our societies, taking the lives of innocent people around the world and aiming to destroy our economies and our way of life. Thailand has a long tradition of being a hospitable and welcoming country and we fully believe it will continue to be so”, Mr Rifai added.
“I am extremely saddened by the news of the bomb attack in the centre of Bangkok yesterday. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of all the victims of this incident”, David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said.
“It is highly regrettable that Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, has been the target of this violence. Fortunately Thailand has shown its resilience in the past from natural disasters and other disruptions, and we hope that the situation will stabilise and return to normal very quickly”.
According to WTTC reports Travel & Tourism generated over THB2,345 billion ($US 72.2 billion) or 19.3% of the country’s GDP in 2014. The sector supported over 5 million jobs, representing 14% of total employment.
Thailand’s annual visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign travellers in the country, have more than doubled in the last decade, increasing from THB629 billion (US$19.4 billion) in 2005 to THB1,309 billion (US$40.3 billion) in 2014.