Thailand beach party ban unlikely to dissuade tourists

British party goers dance as hundreds of full moon partiers carry on past sunrise on the beach of Haad Rin on August 22, 2013 in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Paula Bronstein I Getty Images News
British party goers dance as hundreds of full moon partiers carry on past sunrise on the beach of Haad Rin on August 22, 2013 in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Thailand's notorious all night parties will soon be outlawed in some of the country's most popular holiday islands, but travelers and analysts say the ban is unlikely to hurt tourism.

Last month the bodies of a British couple were discovered on a beach on the island of Koh Tao, leading authorities to implement the ban on Monday.

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"The number of visitors might slow in the short term... [but] tourists do not only travel to Surat Thani for party purposes. In fact, the ban might also attract other groups of tourists seeking a more peaceful holiday destination," Warangkana Anuwong, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International told CNBC.

The ban will impact beach parties held in the Surat Thani province, which includes the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park and attracted just over four million tourists in 2013, 15 percent of Thailand's overall visitors, according to the Thailand Authority of Tourism.

Koh Phangan's famous 'Full Moon Party' will not be subject to the ban, however.

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Major source of economic growth

It's been a challenging year for Thailand's tourism market, following a bloodless military coup in May. The recent murders have further tainted the exotic vacation destination's reputation.

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Tourist arrivals from January until September declined 10% compared to the same period in 2013, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Thailand.

Thailand's tourism market - which employs over two million Thai residents, generated 1,800 billion Thai baht ($55.3 billion) in 2013 - roughly 6 to 7 percent of the country's total gross domestic product.

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Much of the slump came from a drop in Chinese tourists, Euromonitor's Anuwong said, Thailand's largest source of tourism. But this wasn't due to the military coup, she said, but outside factors including the loss of the MH370 aircraft in March, which had a high number of Chinese on board.

"The number of Chinese tourists is showing signs of recovery and might be able to drive the overall tourism industry performance by year-end," she added.

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What tourists think

Tourists that have recently visited Surat Thani were divided on whether the ban would impact tourism.

"I think on Koh Phangan, it will cause some problems, the smaller parties (the Jungle experience for example) were the best parties there," said Daniel Voyce, a 31-year old technical architect from Melbourne.

Matteo Benoldi, 27-year old Italian photographer, told CNBC the closure of the beach parties could be a good thing.

"I'm in Koh Tao now, just moved from Koh Phangan and trust me the parties are the most horrible things. You will not see more than tourists getting drunk and aggressive, it's better without them," he added.

The murdered British couple: Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, are reported to have been out drinking before going to a secluded beach where they were killed. Two men from Myanmar have been arrested and charged with their murders.

Also adding to concerns, an American tourist was severely injured in Phuket from an attack on Friday. A local has since confessed to the crime.

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