Foreign tourists still pack Hat Yai

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SONGKHLA, Feb 23 – Despite the car bombing incident in the trouble-plagued southern province of Narathiwat last Friday, foreign tourists, mostly Malaysians, remain packed nearby Hat Yai district celebrating the Chinese New Year, said Panu Woramit, chief of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Hat Yai office.

The general atmosphere in Hat Yai is still lively although celebrations for the Chinese New Year are drawing to a close.

Foreign tourists, 80 of them Malaysians and the rest Singaporeans and Indonesians, are wandering the town.

Many of them have been seen spending time on shopping or visiting restaurants.

A large number of them hired taxis for travelling around the town amid tight security provided by police and volunteers.

Mr Panu said tourism business in Hat Yai during the Chinese New Year this year is much better than the corresponding period last year as hotel rooms are fully booked while it is estimated that about Bt300 million would change hands.

He said tourists are expected to visit Hat Yai in large number again during the annual Songkran festival, or Thailand’s traditional New Year which falls between April 13-15.

Hat Yai will also host an international balloon festival this March  6-7, said Mr Panu, adding that foreign tourists still have high confidence on security measures in the district.