AYUTTHAYA is starting to see a recovery in tourist numbers as restoration and rehabilitation efforts gather pace following the subsiding of floodwaters, which completely submerged the ancient Thai capital for more than a month.
Supot Prommanot, director of the Third Regional Office of Fine Arts, Ministry of Culture, said FIT and group traffic to Ayutthaya started to recover starting end-November, and the Fine Arts Department was planning to resume admission fee collections from mid-December onwards.
According to Supot, floodwaters are no longer a problem at the majority of popular attractions in Ayutthaya. Some residual water at certain sites is still being drained, albeit slowly so as not to destabilise temple foundations, he added.
Meanwhile, a team of experts from Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Thailand, led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, is surveying Ayutthaya to formulate recommendations for a short- and long-term restoration plan to be presented to the Thai government.
Last year, Ayutthaya recorded more than 6.53 million domestic and international visitors, an increase of 82.3 per cent over 2009, and generated about nine billion baht in tourism revenue.
By Sirima Eamtako