Thailand always sees itself as the tourism leader in Southeast Asia, with the industry's highest incomes in the region as well as a growing numbers of visitors _ it may reach 24 million this year. Despite the good news, the bad news is the country's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) has gradually dropped, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum.
Here are the stats: Thailand used to be in the 39th position out of 140 countries in 2009 before moving down to 41st in 2011 and another two steps down to 43rd this year. Only two places declined from the last edition, stated the report. That the position was not worse demonstrates some resilience to the natural disasters and political unrest with which the country has been grappling.
Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) research director Somchai Jitsuchon recently told me that the quick explanation for this was that tourism was being affected by the same factors that have brought down the country's overall competitiveness _ government stability (or lack thereof) and policies.
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