Mixed reactions from tourism industry after blasts in South

national August 14, 2016 01:00



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LOCAL tourism operators have had mixed reactions in response to the blasts on Mother’s Day in several southern provinces. Some lament that they are suffering losses from cancellations and fear impacts will last through to the high season, while others rem

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, however, expects the negative impact to be short-term only, government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd quoted him as saying yesterday.
The PM said he believed that Thailand’s well-known cuisine, beautiful destinations and renowned hospitality would still help attract a high number of visitors, the spokesman said. 
Prateep Jongthong, president of the Trang tourism association, said yesterday that the August 12 bombings and arson in some southern provinces including Trang had adversely affected tourism as many bookings had been cancelled. So, he said, the government should try to resolve the problem and boost confidence. 
He said nearly 100 per cent of tourists heading for Trang had cancelled their bookings, and he believed the bombings were likely to have had political motives. 
The impact of the bombings would be felt during the high season in October, he said, so it was time for the authorities to provide an explanation to boost visitors’ confidence. 
However, Phang Nga tourism association president Nanthida Atiseth remained positive yesterday despite Friday’s two blasts at the popular Bang Niang Market in Takua Pa district. There were no deaths.
Expressing condolences to victims on behalf of her association, the provincial tourism industry council and provincial chamber of commerce, she said the authorities had boosted security in the province, notably at key attractions. Hotel bookings in Phang Nga still stand at 70 per cent. 
Bang Niang Market owner and retired government official Somthob Saengson, 75, along with other affected vendors called on related state agencies to provide Bt8 million in compensation to cover damages to operators of the 16-year-old market’s 80 shops. Some nine shops had been burnt down.
Prapas Inthanaprasat, director of Tourism Authority’s Surat Thani Office, said the bombing in the province on Friday had not had an adverse impact on local tourism. 
He said tourists were still visiting attractions like the Ratchaprapa Dam in Ban Tha Khun district over the long weekend. 
Mother’s Day on Friday was a national holiday. 
He said tourism operators said that foreign visitors had not cancelled plans to visit Surat Thani either, adding that some had made inquiries and chose to stick to their plans after getting an explanation. 

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