The past months have been about the worst a tourism destination can go through for Thailand.
This is an amazing country. When people visit it they almost always return with glowing reports to the hospitality, the scenery, the sites, and the value they consider they received during their stay.
With the protests tourism ground to a standstill, and even when the crowds dispursed and a sense of normalcy returned, the tourists did not.
At a special meeting on International Solidarity with Tourism for Thailand, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) demonstrated their support of Thailand and its tourism industry as the country returns to normalcy following political unrest earlier in the year.
And so they should. The weakest link can bring down the entire chain and those two bodies in particular recognize how important tourism is to the entire regions econom.
The Thai government was quick to show support to this key industry and implement recovery measures in close partnership with the private sector.
Measures introduced include a financial scheme for tourism entrepreneurs and small businesses affected by the unrest, exemption from the tourist visa fee for foreigners and a landing and parking fee discount for airports.
Those visa fees were always an irritant and should be removed permanently.
A major discussion by the group and industry relates to pricing.
The biggest fear is that by using low prices, for a product that is already a bargain, it will take years before profits can return even if more people do take advantage of discounting.
There is a strong motivation not to deep discount and the fear is some of the major tour operators may try to force the issue.
I always love a good deal…but not at the expense of an economy that is already devasted.
So I encourage you. Visit Thailand. You will love the country. You will be happy for every dollar you spent. And you will return raving about the place to every one of your friends.