PHUKET: Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has finally lifted its “orange” alert, which warned against travel to Phuket.
The ministry announced on Tuesday that it had received a report from Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand confirming that Phuket’s tourism facilities and transportation networks have been successfully repaired and rebuilt.
Daily living for locals has returned to normal, the report said, and tourists from North America and Europe are returning to the island.
Panu Maswongsa, Vice President of the Phuket Tourist Association, told the Gazette, “I am pleased that Taiwan has now officially lifted the orange travel alert.
“However, the number of tourists visiting a place depends upon the availability of transportation. China Airlines of Taiwan suspended its regular flights to Phuket after the tsunami.
“Only a few airlines are still offering direct flights to Phuket,” he said. “Since flying via Bangkok to Phuket is more expensive than a direct flight, it may take a while for tourism in Phuket to recover.
“The government must tell Phuket’s tourist markets how safe it is here,” K. Panu said.
Suwalai Pinpradab, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s office in Phuket, said that Taiwanese tourists are important to the island; about 200,000 used to come to Phuket every year.
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