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Thailand crisis bears at least something positive for travellers

With the political situation throwing Thailand into chaotic times for the months to come, there is at least one positive evolution for Thailand travellers. The Baht value is collapsing and could remain weak for a long time.

BANGKOK- Such an exchange rate between the US dollar and the Thai Baht was unseen for at least four years: on December 23, the Thai currency  was close to 33 Baht for a dollar (32.7 Baht exactly), an unseen level for many years. Earlier this year, the Thai currency had reached 28.6 baht for a dollar. This was last April and experts were predicting that the dollar could end the year to an exchange rate of 26 Baht!

So far, the Thai currency lost 2% of its value in just one week time and 15% of its value since April. This can only be good for travellers who will enjoy a cheaper currency and more reasonable prices. But it will also help the Thai industry –including tourism- to be more competitive. Earlier this year, the raise of the salary to a minimum of THB 300 per day (roughly US$ 10) was seen by many as a handicap to compete with other economies in the region as Thai manpower was getting more expensive. At least the current political situation is rebalancing partially rising costs in the country.

The Thai currency remains however largely overvalued compared to other currencies in the region. A more accurate exchange rate – which would rea    lly reflect the true value of the Baht- would be a currency around 35 Baht for one dollar… This level could meanwhile be reached by 2014…

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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