Deep South bombs 'will affect Phuket tourism'
PHUKET: Rachin Thongmakkul, president of Patong Hotel Association, and a vice-president of the Thai Hotel Association Southern Chapter, admitted yesterday (April 3) that about 10 per cent of tour bookings for the South of Thailand, including Phuket, had been cancelled as a result of the deadly car bombs in Haad Yai and Yala Province on Saturday (March 31).
Wednesday 4 April 2012, 05:28PM
He added that it was likely that the numbers of new tour bookings, especially by Malaysian and Singaporean tourists, are likely to fall off from last year’s figures.
The governments of both Singapore and Malaysia have issued warnings about travel in South Thailand, and Mr Rachin predicted that this would probably result in a fall in tourists from those countries coming to Phuket for the Songkran festival later this month.
Although local authorities have been quick to reassure tourists that they do not consider Phuket to be a target of terrorism, several tour agencies said they had received feedback from tourists who regarded Phuket as part of the South, and therefore within the danger zone.
Currently, said Mr Rachin, occupancy in Patong hotels is averaging 70 per cent.
Although Western tourists provide the bulk of tourists coming to Phuket, Mr Rachin said that many Malaysians and Singaporeans use Phuket as an access point before travelling to other parts of the country.
“You may not currently see the influence of the terrorism news on Phuket,” said Mr Rachin. “But I think we will see some effect on the island’s tourism industry soon, especially during Songkran.”