Diplomats praise island tourism

KARON: Bangkok-based diplomats representing 20 Asian and European countries have completed a tour of Phuket and Samui that was designed to promote tourism to the islands following the Sars scare. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) organized the study tour for ambassadors, consuls and their spouses between July 18 and 20. The party of 32 visitors was led by Dr Sorajak Kasemsuvan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who explained, “The trip to Samui and Phuket showed that Thai tourism is normal and Thailand is a Sars-free country.” Japan’s Ambassador, Atsushi Tokinoya, said that he was impressed with what he saw and expected that tourists would be back soon. Austria’s ambassador, Herbert Traxl, said that it was his second visit to Phuket and his first to Samui. He said he had seen “fantastic development”. “People know what tourism means and know what is important,” he said. “Not only do you have fantastic beaches and beautiful hotels but you [Thais] also give your heart.” He added that the 70,000 tourists a year from Austria usually stay in Thailand an average of 10 days or more. “It’s quite a long stay, because they feel comfortable,” he said. “My wish is that Thai tourism goes on the way it has gone, and preserves its natural environment and beautiful beaches.”

Phuket News

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