SURAT THANI, 24 January 2014 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has indicated that political rallies have been causing a significant decline in the number of visits by Thai and Chinese tourists to Surat Thani, home to the resort island of Samui.
Praphat Inthanapasat, director of the TAT office for Surat Thani, said on Thursday that room bookings at Surat Thani’s tourism hotspots had been noticeably affected from the prolonged protest activities in Bangkok as well as in Surat Thani.
In the case of Thai tourists who visit the province for seminars and meetings at hotels in downtown Surat Thani, Mr. Praphat disclosed that cancellations and re-location of meeting venues by this group of tourists had resulted in the booking rate at hotels in Surat Thani city to drop to about 30%.
In the case of Chinese tourists who arrive mainly on seafood-tasting tours, a number of reservations for seafood restaurants for the next two months have been cancelled.
The director, however, noted that European tourists who make up the main market for Samui and Pa-ngan islands have yet to cancel their trips. He attributed this to the fact that these tourists board flights to Samui right after arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, allowing them to bypass the political demonstrations.
Mr. Praphat added that the TAT offices abroad would publicize the fact that the protests and the enforcement of the Emergency Executive Decree were only taking place in Bangkok, and that the tourism destinations in other areas of Thailand could still be enjoyed without hindrance.