December 29, 2014
A view of 2014, the year started well with the full opening of our hostel in Koh Chang, we also commenced the fitting out of our 4th location another hostel in Udon Thani, all in all things were going well and to plan.
All of our venues were very busy in spite of the political tensions between the ‘Yellow and Red Shirts’ and the fact that dozens of countries suggesting to their nationals that they should not travel to Thailand, then the wheels really did fall off.
Thailand suffered another coup in May and from June visitor numbers tumbled by 30% across the country
Visitor numbers were still being hit from the former warnings when the same governments from same countries again advised their nationals that they should not travel to Thailand, this time because of the coup. This in spite of the fact that the military had stopped the riots and bloody confrontations between the two political parties and it had done so without bloodshed. Most of the warnings are even today still in place yet the majority of the law abiding people of Thailand, have welcomed the intervention of the military in the stability and happiness they have returned to the ‘Land of Smiles’
Things got steadily worse during the year, through no fault of Thailand or its people, when in September there was the tragic downing of the MH17 Malaysia civilian air craft over Ukraine, and one of the most frequent visitors here that of Malaysian people dropped significantly.
It was around this time when mother-nature decided to throw here considerable weight into the pot and we witnessed major flooding in provinces through-out the country.
This was on top of the worst earth quake since 1935 which rocked Thailand in early May, the quake killed two people, injured 23 others and affected more than 50,000 people.
Later in the year we were to also saw temperatures drop in the far north to below ‘O’ with the hill tribes people suffering one of the coldest weather periods in decades.
If this was not bad enough closer to the end of the year the Russians had stopped coming, due to the crash of their currency the Ruble. Again this reduction in visitor’s numbers hit the tourism industry especially in Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket and by as much as 50%.
All in all a pretty bleak year for tourism in Thailand. There was one ray of sunlight in all this turbulence and that is in the determination of our guests to still see the world for what it is.
We Backpackers are a strange and wonderful bunch, we are not ‘Tourists’ we see ourselves as adventurous and free minded, to hear the hypocritical ramblings of our governments telling us what to do and what not to do, is not the way we set our compass.
We understand that this planet will at time unleash its own form of a wakeup call, just to remind us that we should be more aware of what we are all doing to our world.
We understand that without travel we may never get to find out more about ourselves and those we share this tiny spot in the universe with.
Backpackers understand all this and more, it is due to this unique backpacker mind set that our hostels still flourish and why we continue to look to open more venues across this great country.
Goodbye 2014 and bring on 2015.
To see Thailand from the eyes of its people click here