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TAT moves to calm tourist fears

PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette today obtained the following advice to the travel industry from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), following the violence in the deep south of Thailand that saw 107 people killed in violent clashes on April 28. The Tourism situation in South Thailand 1. The disturbances are over and the situation is under control by the Thai security forces. 2. As mentioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is no evidence the violence has anything to do with international terrorism or religious conflict. 3. The provinces where the violence occurred are located in the deep south of Thailand. The three provinces, Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, are located about 1,000 kilometres from Bangkok and several hundred kilometres from Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga and other beach-resort provinces popular with tourists. 4. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is committed to ensuring that the root causes of the problems in the three provinces are addressed quickly and effectively in order to bring back peace and prosperity to the region. 5. Tourism in these places remains unaffected. The only impact has been on Malaysian visitor arrivals to Thailand. Overland border-crossings from neighbouring Malaysia have slowed down considerably. This is a normal reaction for the moment and [traffic] will revive once peace and stability is restored. 6. The TAT has prepared a crisis management center to track the situation. The International Public Relations Department has been given [responsibility for] liaising with the respective Thai government authorities and communicating news of the situation to the TAT overseas offices. 7. TAT overseas offices are reporting back to head office about the reactions in their respective markets. They are also keeping the local airlines and tour operators in their respective markets abreast of the situation. 8. The Royal Thai embassies have been appointed the main centres of media coordination in their respective territories and TAT overseas offices are working with them to liaise with the media and ensure that correct information is conveyed. 9. Using the Team Thailand concept, TAT offices are also coordinating with the involved government organisations that have offices abroad, such as the Ministry of Commerce and the Board of Investment, as well as Thai Airways International. 10. After the situation returns to normal, the TAT will mobilise its marketing resources to [revive] visitor flows, especially from neighbouring Malaysia. The crisis recovery plan will be similar to that which was mounted after the SARS crisis. 11. Emphasis will be placed on inviting travel agents and media to see the situation for themselves, especially the fact that life is normal in all the popular tourist spots of Thailand. 12. The TAT will also organise roadshows to the affected source-markets in order to reinstate the confidence of both the visitors and consumers. The Gazette invites comments on this statement. Send email to: editor@phuketgazette.net . Your name and home location must be included, even if not for publication.

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