Closed bars and austerity may crimp Thailand's economy in the short term as the country waits for the transition following the death of the king. Hayley Platt reports.
Famed for it's bars, beaches and nightlife, tourism in Thailand has become a bright spot after years of weak exports and consumption. It accounts for around 10 percent of GDP and a record 33 million tourists were expected this year. But the recent death of Thailand's beloved King has sent the Thai people into mass mourning. They've been told not to hold any celebrations for 30 days and have been encouraged to wear black. Although businesses have been urged to carry on - many locals don't have much appetite for shopping. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) MANTUPORN SAKANAWAT, 54, SAYING: "Vendors don't have any money. People don't have any money. All people think about buying are necessities for their family." Thailand's King was the world's longest-reigning monarch. He helped shape modern Thailand. But he also witnessed years of political turmoil. He died as Thailand's economy was beginning to recover. It grew an annual 3.5 percent in the June quarter, its fastest pace for more than three years. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) SUKIT UDOMTRIKUL, HEAD OF RESEARCH AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MAYBANK KIMENG SECURITY THAILAND SAYING: "The Thai stock market has passed the volatile period. We might see some slowdown in activities due to the King's death but the economic fundamentals are still there. I don't think we will see much impact." Many hope he's right, especially as the official period of mourning is set to last a year.