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Phuket Opinion: Blast waves reach Phuket

PHUKET: Editors at The Phuket News deliberated long and hard over a headline following the Erawan bomb blast in Bangkok on August 17, regarding how Phuket would be affected by the blast in terms of tourism.

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By The Phuket News

Sunday 30 August 2015, 08:00AM


People hold a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to the people who died at Erawan shrine, the popular tourist site where 20 people were killed on August 17, marking one week since the attack in central Bangkok on Monday (August 24). Photo: AFP

People hold a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to the people who died at Erawan shrine, the popular tourist site where 20 people were killed on August 17, marking one week since the attack in central Bangkok on Monday (August 24). Photo: AFP

In the end, The Phuket News chose to highlight how the island’s tourism industry had yet to feel the brunt of the fallout in tourist booking cancellations in the aftermath of the blast (See story here). Some people commented on our Facebook page that we had done so, in their opinion, in “bad taste”.

Had we gone another way with a headline pointing out that tourism experts had indicated that Phuket could benefit from tourists redirecting their tours directly to Phuket instead of the capital, it’s highly possible that far more people would have scorned The Phuket News as in even more “bad taste”.

However, an article recently published by the Bangkok Post completely supports what that other headline could have been: that the bomb blast has in fact had no impact on Phuket’s tourism industry, and that the island is actually starting to benefit from it. In fact, the top story on Google News for Thailand yesterday (August 29) was CNBC’s report “Thailand bombing won’t crush tourism”. (See story here.)

Yes, the blast at the popular tourist attraction that killed 20 people and injured over 100, and for which nobody has been found accountable or claimed responsibility, was a disgusting act.

(UPDATE: One suspect arrested on August 29. See story here)

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Nobody yet knows why the person(s) chose this site as their target. In fact, nobody knows why Bangkok was the chosen target, and it’s possible that this will not come to light for some time.

One theory for the bombings was that it was carried out to damage the Kingdom’s tourism industry, and yes, it is now starting to have an effect with the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) reporting that 5 per cent of foreign bookings for travel to Thailand have been cancelled since the explosion.

However, Phuket’s tourism remains unaffected, with the president of the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter) stating citing Phuket’s occupancy rate in August at 85-90pc – amazing seeing that it is low season and many people say that the island is even more deserted than usual for this time of year.

The Phuket News’ latest poll is asking whether you still feel safe in Phuket as a result of the August 17 blast. To have your say, click here. The Phuket News looks forward to seeing the results of this poll.

 

 

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I Luv Phuket | 31 August 2015 - 01:44:41

Phuket is a wonderful place, hope it will remain so!

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