PHUKET: As can be seen in the data above, compiled from hotels the Gazette was able to contact today, the occupancy situation in Phuket is not robust. Room cancellations are rising, continuing a trend that started early in November. All the hotels represented in our chart report that the usual occupancy rate for this time of year is 80% or more, and many expect the situation to worsen over the next two weeks. The roots of the problem, most believe, are Y2K fears, high airfares and the fact that many people just want to celebrate the millennium at home. “I don’t think people are afraid to fly because of Y2K, but many companies are keeping as many staff in the office as possible,” says Linawaty Ko, Public Relations Manager of the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket. Pamuke Achariyachai, President of the Phuket Tourist Association, agrees with Ms Ko. “Western companies normally let 70% of their staff take holidays in the winter, but this year it’s the opposite. Only 30% are being allowed to travel, especially overseas, because of concerns over Y2K.” The hotels say they believe things will improve by the middle of next month.
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