Tourists Vanish From Bangkok Amid Floods

Saijai Sooksai kills time by arranging and rearranging T-shirts imprinted with Ferrari and Ralph Lauren logos at her streetside stall in Bangkok’s main tourist district. She has little else to do as Thailand’s record floods deter visitors.

Photo credit: Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

“Business is really bad as tourists from Europe and the Middle East have almost all vanished,” said Saijai, who has run a stall on Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road near the Nana area for more than a decade. “I should be easily getting 10,000 baht ($A313) a day this time of year, but now I earn only a couple of hundred some days — not even enough to cover my rent.”

While central Bangkok has avoided flooding so far, hotels and office buildings have erected walls of sandbags to protect against waters that have killed more than 500 people nationwide. The threat has also deterred tourists, forcing Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways to cut flights, hitting reservations at Shangri-La Asia hotels and contributing to the central bank cutting its growth forecast.

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