In the recent months, we have had sever monsoon rains that led to the current flooding situation throughout most of central Thailand affecting tourism in Bangkok and surrounding areas (Kantchanaburi, Auytthaya, etc.). However, this is not the first event in recent history to devastate the Thai tourism, this is just the last episode of many that taking its tool on the tourism industry taking a ripple affect on the workforce and dependent secondary sectors. Events started in 1997 as follows: The Asian financial crisis of 1997: prior to the crisis, the baht was pegged at 25 to the US dollar but after the baht crashed it was THB 52 to the dollar. Thailand did not recover until 2001. Two years later, it was able to pay off its debt to the IMF two years ahead of schedule. Abandoned structure near Saphan Taksin victim of the financial meltdown of 1997 SARS of 2002-03 & H5N1 of 2004: Although SARS did not affect Thailand, it was rampant throughout East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam). The stigma negatively affected Thailand's tourism sector resulting in deep discounts in flights and accommodations to and throughout Thailand. The Bird Flu Virus started in 2004 and caused less than 20 Thai fatalities and continued the cycle of the bargain Thai travel sector. Boxer Day 2004 Tsunami: This Tsunami was the deadliest in recorded history with 11K estimated dead or missing, 10K injured, and 7K displaced in Thailand alone. Many other countries, especially Australia and those in Europe, had large numbers of citizens traveling in the region on holiday. Both Sweden and Germany lost over 500 citizens each in the disaster. Damage to the Thai economy was minor because losses in the tourism and fishing industries are a relatively small percentage of the GDP. However, damage to infrastructure is an overriding factor. In some areas drinking water supplies and farm fields may have been contaminated for years by salt water from the ocean. The tourism sector did not recover until late 2005. Patong Beachfront businesses 2006 Thai coup d'état: and the resulting political turmoil throughout the rest of 2006. I was in Thailand during this coup and personally witnessed as scores of foreigners immediately exited the country. I was staying at the Plaza Athenee, which had plenty of availability all of the sudden. Military Coup: Tanks at the Royal Plaza Bangkok September 2006 Airport seizures of 2008: After Thaksin party regained power through elections in mid 2008, his opponents (Royalists, the elites, and military supporters) formed an opposition movement called People Against Dictatorship (PAD). On the evening of 25 November 2008, a convoy of hundreds of armed PAD members dressed in yellow blocked the two ends of the road in front of the terminal building of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok's main airport and an important regional hub and blockaded the main road to the airport, aiming at resisting the landing of the prime minister's flight. PAD members armed with clubs, iron bars and knives, with some wearing black balaclavas, then entered the terminal, much to the surprise of the thousands of travelers inside. AOT, eventually decided that all Suvarnabhumi flights were suspended, leaving thousands of travelers stranded in the airport, this action led to the official closure of the airport. PAD yellow shirts did not leave BKK until the constitutional court dissolved the government and BKK resumed flight operations on December 4th mainly evicting thousands of stranded travelers. This action caused a severe blow to the tourism high season of 2008-2009. BKK Airport yellow shirts seizure 2008 14th ASEAN Summit and Protests of 2009: The summit was convened in Pattaya from April 10 to April 12. However, it was aborted on April 11 when hundreds of pro-Thaksin protesters (red shirts) forced their way past security forces into the venue. Many of the visiting leaders had to be evacuated by helicopter to a nearby military airbase, although none were injured. The protests were part of the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis and were not directed at ASEAN leaders but rather at Thailand's government ... yet another blow to the tourism sector! 2010 Thai military crackdown: The protest was by red shirts who camped themselves in Central Bangkok and the resulting military crack down lasted 5 weeks in April and May. The fighting caused about 100 deaths including several foreigners, $1.5 billion in damages, curfew in the capital for the first time since the 1992 coup. The damage to both Bangkok's infrastructure and Thailand's reputation was severe and lingered for many more months affecting the tourism sector negatively. The aftermath: Damage to CentralWorld Ratchaprasong Bangkok 2010 2011 current flooding ... and the saga continues ... What do you think? The Gods (Buddha!) are upset with Thailand and its society, or are these just normal occurrences that all modern societies face today?