Thailand's Prime Minister says a bomb which killed at least 22 people was intent on destroying the country's economy. Ivor Bennett looks at the impact of the attack on a country where tourism is vital.
The before and after couldn't be further apart. From normality, to instant terror At least 22 people were killed in the attack, on a popular tourist spot in Bangkok. With nine foreigners among the victims, Thailand's Prime Minister fears further consequences. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) THAI PRIME MINISTER, PRAYUTH CHAN-OCHA, SAYING: "In our country there are individuals or groups of individuals who are seeking to destroy the country. The ongoing attempts at destruction might be politically motivated, targetting the economy, tourism for whatever reason." Tourism is a vital part of Thailand's economy, accounting for 10 percent of GDP. Though the arrivals hall at Bangkok airport is still busy, these are travellers who have already bought tickets. It's feared those who haven't, will now be thinking twice. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 29-YEAR-OLD TOURIST FROM UNITED STATES GRANT WIECZOREK SAYING: "I'm not sure I would have come if this happened before I booked my ticket." It may not just be tourists who are fearful. But investors too, says Seven Investment Management's, Justin Urquhart Stewart. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "People are looking around the world and increasingly see countries that are potentially a good place to invest in, now looking more questionable. So whether you're looking at the likes of Turkey, still a very strong nation, but with difficulties on its borders. The same then also applies to somewhere like Thailand. So it's going to be very difficult and puts off, it gives people a reason not to invest." And it seems that fear has already taken effect. Thai stocks tumbling as much as three per cent in the aftermath of the attacks, and the Thai baht at its weakest in more than six years.