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Bangkok tour cancellations surge

Bangkok tour cancellations surge

BANGKOK: Tour cancellation have surged since early November mainly due to inaccurate media reports that claimed the city’s gateway airport was closed, Association of Thai Travel Agents president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, reported yesterday.

Friday 11 November 2011, 03:35PM

Travel industry executives have lambasted a local English language newspaper for its banner headline “Bangkok Airport closes.” They claim it caused a panic to cancel trips to Bangkok.

Just three domestic airlines were forced to relocate when the domestic Don Mueang Airport was flooded in late October.

Travel and airline executives also accuse the media of doctoring photographs by merging images of Suvarnanbumi Airport with images of aircraft standing in a metre of water on the parking aprons at the domestic airport.

Some likened it to the “despicable tactics” of wire tapping in the UK that caused the News of the World to close, claiming media outlets lack ethics and professionalism.

“Internationals tourists and tour companies came to the conclusion Suvarnabhumi Airport was closed and this was partly the responsibility of reporters and the media who failed to accurately report the truth.”

The ATTA president called on the government to act decisively and take action to safeguard the country’s economy particularly tourism.

QSI International School Phuket

Mr Sisdivachr added: “Most of the provinces in Thailand are safe for visits, but there is zero information about it. Even our government explains the bad news that makes tourists afraid to come.”

The association will conduct a survey on the impact of the floods on tourism from Japan and China.

“Travel firms decided not to bring groups to Thailand after hearing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and officials on television warned that Bangkok was a high flood risk area,” he said.

He said:“ Postponements and cancelled trips could leave us with around 10% of our bookings. The cancellation rate has soared since 26 to 28 October,” Mr Sisdivachr added.

“The rate is almost 100 per cent from China, while even stable markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia are indicating massive cancellations,” he said.

–TTR Weekly

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