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Tsunami Haunts Phuket Tourism Six Years On


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#1 webfact

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Posted 2010-12-26 15:08:06

BOXING DAY
Tsunami haunts Phuket tourism six years on

Six years after a tsunami crashed into Andaman Sea coast, claiming up to 5,400 victims - half of them foreign tourists - the disaster continues to haunt the tourism industry, this year in the guise of superstition.


Several well-known Thai astrologers in November made predictions that a tsunami would revisit the Andaman this month, impacting hotel bookings in Phuket, Phangnga and Ranong beach resorts.

The prophesies, thus far unfulfilled, have had the biggest affect on Thai and Asian tourists, industry sources said.

"Asian tourists are constantly calling up and asking whether or not there is going to be another tsunami," Phuket Hotel association manager Narranon Yangyuen said.

"This is peak season, so usually hotel occupancy rates are about 80 per cent this month. But now it's about 60 per cent," she said in a telephone interview.

Phuket's tourism industry has had it's fair share of natural and man-made calamities since December 26, 2004, when a tsunami unleashed by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake off northern Sumatra killed an estimated 230,000 people in 14 countries rimming the Indian Ocean.

Since then, Thailand's tourism sector has been hard hit by the bird-flu and Sars scares, political upheavals in Bangkok and the global financial crisis that has reduced spending power in the kingdom's most lucrative markets - the USA and Europe.

Phuket and neighbouring Phangnga, two of Thailand's most popular beach resorts, have weathered the storms remarkably well.

In 2004, the year The tsunami struck, an estimated 4.7 million international tourists visited Phuket. This year, the figure was expected to reach 5.5 million, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Director Bang-ornrat Shinaprayoon.

But December has proven a bit of a disappointment, thanks to the Thai soothsayers and other more down-to-earth factors.

"Last year we had good reservations all through December," Bang-ornrat said. While acknowledging that tsunami predictions had cut into the Asian market, she said, "This year the main reason might be the recession in Europe, the depreciation of the euro against the baht."

She added that while hotel bookings were in the 50-60 per cent occupancy range in December, most hotels were expecting 80 per cent in January and February.

Another factor affecting occupancy is over-supply. Despite the recent ups and down of the tourism industry, investors keep putting up new hotels in Phuket and Phangnga every year.

To keep their rooms full, hotels are resorting to slashing prices and attracting group tours.

"Phuket is getting quantity but not quality," said Alasdair Forbes, a Phuket-based journalist who covers the tourism industry. "There are thousands of tourists flying in but they're mostly coming from China and South Korea and on pre-paid tours, which means most to the money is spent outside the country."

Predictions of more tsunamis in the making won't help the hoteliers get their prices up this peak season.

Phuket tourism authorities have resorted to conducting tsunami warning drills on popular beaches in an effort to soothe fears of another deadly tidal wave this month.

"I don't believe the predictions but I do believe that a natural disaster can happen any time," Bang-ornrat said. "We cannot stop fortune tellers from saying anything about tsunamis but we know that we cannot predict a natural phenomenon, so we prepare ourselves by informing the tourists."

The Phuket TAT director did, however, find it odd that at least one of The tsunami prophets happens to live in Chiang Mai, a rival tourist attraction to Phuket.

"All the Thai tourism has now moved to Chiang Mai instead of Phuket. I wonder what's the real objective of this fortune teller?" she asked.


-- The Nation 2010-12-26



#2 asiawatcher

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Posted 2010-12-26 15:19:49

"...There are thousands of tourists flying in but they're mostly coming from China and South Korea and on pre-paid tours, which means most to the money is spent outside the country."

What a ridiculous statement! Tourists spend when they arrive, the payment for the rooms et al is always paid so if that involves a discount - big deal. But tourists have money to spend when they get here - the tour operators don't handle them that much.

#3 asiawatcher

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Posted 2010-12-26 15:21:10

And of course some stupid do-good idiot decided to re-enact a Tsunami drill on the anniversary of the deaths of thousands. Great boost for tourism .... <deleted>' amazing Thailand. Posted Image

#4 Bagwan

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Posted 2010-12-26 15:50:14

I might be that the recession is to blame but we're going for the tarot card readers. The Thai IQ on display. The famous Eccles of blessed memory would right at home here, but my hero, Major Denis Bloodnok, might find himself crowded out.. Of course the reported scams have nothing to do with it. This is just an hostile overseas Press falsely reporting on minor misunderstandings.

Sanity and reality were obviously turned back by Immigration.



#5 Bagwan

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Posted 2010-12-26 15:53:38

And of course some stupid do-good idiot decided to re-enact a Tsunami drill on the anniversary of the deaths of thousands. Great boost for tourism .... <deleted>' amazing Thailand. Posted Image


It's the best comedy show in town. This farce is sure to run for longer than 'The Mousetrap' did.

#6 terryp

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Posted 2010-12-26 16:23:22

"Asian tourists are constantly calling up and asking whether or not there is going to be another tsunami," Phuket Hotel association manager Narranon Yangyuen said.


Just shows there are plenty of idiots in Asia, everyone knows the Tsunami is due on Monday morning approx 10;17 am

#7 elliss

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Posted 2010-12-26 16:30:36

Sanity and reality were obviously turned back by Immigration.
[/quote]

thailand, not want,not neeed .
keep in your civilised country. :jap:

#8 londonthai

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Posted 2010-12-26 16:45:55

"Several well-known Thai astrologers in November made predictions"

first they are put on the national mass media, without any comment by journalists and explanation by the scientists and than there is a surprise, why asian tourists are not spending their holidays on the west coast

#9 Nisa

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Posted 2010-12-26 17:29:03


"Asian tourists are constantly calling up and asking whether or not there is going to be another tsunami," Phuket Hotel association manager Narranon Yangyuen said.


Sounds as if the Hotel Assoc. is more stupid then these "Asian Tourists" calling since they don't just ask the caller when they planned to come and let them know there are no tsunami's scheduled during or near the time of their vacation. Not only would it be honest answer but it could put to bed this ridiculous notion that this has anything to do with the drastic drop in visitors.


#10 ginjag

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Posted 2010-12-26 18:28:55


And of course some stupid do-good idiot decided to re-enact a Tsunami drill on the anniversary of the deaths of thousands. Great boost for tourism .... <deleted>' amazing Thailand. Posted Image


It's the best comedy show in town. This farce is sure to run for longer than 'The Mousetrap' did.


Bagwan, and all the others have hit the nail on the head, How utterly stupid. The hotel comments. The soothsayers, the drill, Putting the shites up everyone. When the drill was enacted, did the animals run up the hill again, This is not a nice situation, for all the hurt of that awful day 6 years ago. But come on Phuket get your finger out, love the people that come, don,t make them afraid. stop ripping them off.

#11 ESB7

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Posted 2010-12-26 18:38:29

Lets just try and remember those that we and others lost.........Numbers are down for other reasons that need not be discussed on this thread



#12 ginjag

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Posted 2010-12-26 19:16:46

Lets just try and remember those that we and others lost.........Numbers are down for other reasons that need not be discussed on this thread




I know, this IS a terrible time, Most people are feeling for the unfortunates of the day................I would think most farrangs will agree. BUT the Thais are doing the moaning on the aniversary, and giving out the wrong signals......................these readers are responding to this..............its discussed because its thrown at them to discuss.

#13 ukinbkk

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Posted 2010-12-26 22:17:22

Many reasons why the numbers are down, I had a bar owner that i was introduced to only 2 days ago call me up as he wanted me to go to his overpriced bar and spend money.. 150thb for a vodka/orange, getting pestered by ugly girls (wouldn't mind if they were sway mac mac).. Soless place with only 1 lady, I found myself making small talk with a bloke from UK west country who had invested in this so called tin shed! What is the matter with people.. Phuket is going to take yrs to recover from all the bad press, nat disasters, over pricing and much more.. The fact is that the people who have come to Phuket from outside (and locals) just want to make a fast buck at your expense, people are just fed up with the constant stitch ups..

Good luck to Chang Mai that's what I say!!! Let's hope it doesn't go the same way as down south!!





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