Political crisis worries tourism leaders
PHUKET: Key figures in Phuket’s tourism industry today called for a peaceful solution to the current political crisis, following the detonation of a small bomb yesterday outside the home of former Prime Minister Gen Prem Tinsulanonda in Bangkok, which slightly injured a British tourist.
Kitti Pattanachinda, Vice-President of the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA), told the Gazette, “Our political problems are broadcast around the world and when potential tourists watch the news they may change their minds and travel to other countries they see as more peaceful.
“Me, I wouldn’t want to risk going to Manila because of the political problems in the Philippines – I’m not sure about security there,” he added.
Thailand’s current political turmoil is affecting Phuket’s tourism industry and Scandinavian travel agents have already been inquiring about security factors and risks on the island, he said.
K. Kitti added that many people were to blame for the present problems because so many organizations are involved. “We lost out last year because of the tsunami and now we have political turmoil,” he said. “This can only mean bad news.
“I would like to ask every faction in this political crisis to stop, please, because it will affect the country’s economy. The many hundreds of thousands of protesters in Bangkok will, in turn, affect hundreds of thousands more around the country, as well as Thailand’s financial wellbeing.
“If we could publicize that Phuket has no political problems whatsoever, it might help us to get through and survive this crisis,” he added.
“But if so-called responsible adults all over the country cannot talk together to solve the problems, how can we keep our self-respect?”
Pamuke Archariyachai, CEO of the Kata Group and Consultant to the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, said that yesterday’s bomb incident in Bangkok will definitely affect tourism in Phuket.
“If the political situation takes too long to settle down, then tourism will be aversely affected because everyone’s safety is threatened. I would like to ask all those politicians who say that they love their country to please bring an end to this crisis as soon as possible.
“Phuket and other Andaman coast provinces were severely affected by the tsunami and things were just getting better, but now we have this.”
He added that it was hard to explain to tourists that problems in Bangkok would not necessarily affect Phuket. It was difficult, he said, for tourists to differentiate between the two places; they would tend to equate the political crisis with the entire country.
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