The tourism sector has lost more than 35 billion baht (more than 1 billion US dollars) due to the intensifying mass anti-government rally and the bloody confrontations on Saturday between red-shirt protesters and security forces.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), which made the tourism claim, also predicted the violence could take one per cent from the 2010 gross domestic product.

“Tourism and service businesses, restaurants, souvenir shops and shopping malls near the rally sites [at Ratchaprasong intersection and Phan Fa bridge] are all affected and could lose over 35 billion baht in total,” FTI deputy chairman Thanit Sorat said on Sunday.

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