Chinese tour cancellations for Phuket ’worse than estimated’

PHUKET: A leading figure in Phuket’s tourism industry has warned that the current state of advance booking cancellations of Chinese tourists could be worse than first reported in the aftermath of the Phoenix boat disaster, which killed 47 tourists.

By Sirapisit Bunchoocheep

Friday 13 July 2018, 04:44PM

Chinese family members of tourists killed or otherwise directly affected by the Phoenix tour boat disaster seek assistance at Vachira Phuket Hospital. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Chinese family members of tourists killed or otherwise directly affected by the Phoenix tour boat disaster seek assistance at Vachira Phuket Hospital. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Tourism and Sports Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Svetarundra in Phuket yesterday revealed that Chinese tourist advance bookings in Phuket have been slammed with 10-15% cancellations. (See story here.)

In response, Kongsak Koopongsakorn, Vice President of the Thai Hotels Association, told The Phuket News today (July 13), “Ten to 15% is a rough estimate. It is likely to be more than this, but still have to wait for the exact figures.

“We are currently asking for information from the association members who have hotels in Phuket,” he added.

Mr Kongsak, who is also concurrently the President of the Thai Hotels Association Southern Thailand chapter, attributed the main cause of the cancellations to online reports in China and attacks on social media blaming Thailand – and Chinese tour companies – for not taking care of tourists.

“News reports showing disrespectful images of the victims bodies being posted online has not helped, with family members angry over seeing their own family members’ bodies in pictures on the internet,” he added.

“It has turned sadness into anger, and many Chinese have cancelled their travel to the Phuket area,” Mr Kongsak said.

Laguna Golf Phuket

“We hope that is a short-term problem,” he added.

The Thai Hotels Association is working with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to counter the dive in bookings, Mr Kongsak explained.

“We will soon publish a story that shows in a positive way how Thailand has been sincere in facilitating everything we can for those injured and the families of those killed in the disaster,” he said.

“I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with the people directly affected and the families of those who died, as members from the THA Southern Thailand, especially members in Phuket, have helped with providing assistance

“Overall, they were satisfied with the performance of every Thai organisation (involved),” Mr Kongsak said.

“Things will get better after the last body has been recovered and handed back to the family,” he added.



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vegasbaby | 15 July 2018 - 19:52:47

If this publication was distriburted to prospective Chinese tourists, the cancellations would be 100%.  They would see all the unresolved problems in Phuket then choose another destination - raw sewage in sea, tour bus and tour boat deaths, coral destruction, taxi and jet ski scams, violent crimes, corruption, no lifeguards on beaches, illegal products.  What a shame...

Kurt | 15 July 2018 - 14:01:21

Why is mr Kongsak not touching the fact that these boat disasters happened because of corrupt thai lawyers and officials who certified these vessels. One vessel with a engine from a 16-wheeler for waterpump, pipes to small. Built at illegal 'shipyard' what should be named scrap yard. Positive stories about care victims and little payments for those killed? He must be joking or cold blooded

malczx7r | 14 July 2018 - 11:52:45

“Overall, they were satisfied with the performance of every Thai organisation (involved),” Mr Kongsak said. Yeah apart from the officials in charge of safety who failed at every level!

BenPendejo | 14 July 2018 - 10:05:25

Now that the disaster is slowly fading into memory, the true horror of the event as see from Thailand's standpoint is the loss of money, their #1 love and concern in life. As this tragedy sweeps throughout China as they continue to care for their dead, Thai officials are already trying to tally the economic loss.  I hope it continues to hit hard, then maybe they will learn a valuable lesson.

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