Foreign tourists cancel bookings

Economy April 06, 2012 00:00


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More than half of tourists from neighbouring nations, especially Malaysia, have cancelled their Songkran hotel bookings in Songkhla province because of the deadly car bombs on Saturday.

“Our tourist target this year is half of the tourist number last year. Our Midnight Songkran will still go ahead as planned,” Somchart Pimtanapoonporn, president of the Tourism Business Federation of Songkhla, said yesterday.

Some people have chosen to enjoy the Songkran festival because they understand the situation, he said.

About 25,000 people come to Hat Yai from April 11-13 every year, dropping Bt800 million into the local economy.

However, as the situation this year is unpredictable, it will be a challenge to draw half of the usual number to the festivities.

“At the moment we ask for support from all Thais to help rebuild confidence in order to bring back Hat Yai’s dynamism,’’ he said.

Prapas Inthanaprasat, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Hat Yai office, said that after the bombs, some Malaysians had left the area for home. Some decided to stay for the celebration.

Going ahead with the event will help shake off the pall that has fallen over the province. However, security checks should be stricter, especially for revellers, to make sure everything is safe.

Songkran this year would be as enjoyable as years earlier, he added.