For the past year, political unrest in Thailand has been simmering, with undulating waves of street protests, anti-government demonstrations and a concerted campaign to topple the regime of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

In the past six weeks, the campaign has garnered momentum, with protesters clashing with authorities and police, bringing the streets of Bangkok to a standstill and causing the deaths of at least 25 people.

The protesters are defying emergency rule and want former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who now lives in exile, to be allowed to return.

Whatever the merits of the protesters' cause, or the legitimacy of the government, the campaign is having a detrimental effect on the Thai economy.

The nation's tourism sector is being decimated by the protests, with visitors staying away from the beaches and beauty spots until the unrest subsides. Thailand's GDP will fall by two per cent because of the protests.

Thailand's currency has also been taking a beating in recent months — when a recent protest was called off, the baht rose to its highest level in 18 months against the dollar.

Only fresh elections with full participation from all parties will bring this debilitating saga to an end.