PHUKET CITY: An inspection team representing major Scandinavian tour companies Star Tour, MyTravel & Tour, and Apollo Tours, yesterday announced that they will return home and spread the word that Phuket and the other Andaman provinces are safe tourist destinations.
The team of five yesterday wrapped up a week-long inspection tour that took in some 80 hotels in Phuket and Krabi, including their facilities and the surrounding infrastructure.
Engineer and team leader Thomas Bjur said, “I have inspected the structure of the hotels, and most of them are still good, only some of them need about a couple of weeks to repair.
“Some [hotels] have already started repairs, and I was surprised by the good work they have done.”
Fellow inspecting engineers Ulf Rydberg and Gert-Inge Mauritzon agreed. “After having checked the damaged areas, I can say there is nothing to worry about,” said Mr Rydberg.
Mr Mauritzon said, “I was worried about coming to Phuket when I was assigned the job, but I am very surprised that Phuket is very nice. Places have been cleaned up, are safe and the Thai people are very generous and cooperative.
“I would bring my family here again.”
“We have seen a lot negative images of the destruction in the Andaman provinces, but what we have seen [on the ground] is different,” he added.
MyTravel & Tour Quality Director Anders Enhagen said that, on returning to Sweden the team will announce their findings at a press conference.
“Most of the hotels in Krabi have already been repaired. Our government warning was removed a few weeks ago. Now we are free to resume tourism as usual,” he said.
Also at yesterday’s press conference, Kasinee Chuennaithum, Phuket Branch Manager of East West Siam, an agent for Apollo Tours, said that Apollo will resume its charter flights to Phuket on February 4, bringing about 1,000 tourists a week.
“There will be three charter flights a week from Sweden to Phuket, starting on February 4 and continuing until about April 30,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ender Turkyilmaz, Destination Manager of Danish tour operator Tyrkiet Eksperten, emailed the Gazette today to announce that his company will restart its Phuket operations on Saturday, bringing 100 people to the island, with 150 more on February 5.
“For the rest of the season, we are going to send about 300 people a week to Phuket,” he added.
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