THAI President Piyasvasti Amranand spoke after flying back from Brussels Friday morning, bringing with him representatives of Belgium's tourism sector, including tour agents, members of the media, and 20 beauty pageant contestants for the Miss Belgium title enroute to training in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai.
Mr Piyasvasti used the occasion to reassure the Belgian market that Thailand's main tourist attractions such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Krabi were unaffected by the floods, and that travellers could conveniently fly to the provinces by using Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport as their transit point.
The THAI president admitted that travel advisories issued by many countries warning against travel to Thailand had quickly cut the number of tourists from China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore and some parts of Europe.
THAI's passenger load dropped to 65.8 per cent of cabin factor last month from 74 per cent year-on-year.
Mr Piyasvasti said the government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, must clarify and create understanding among other countries that flooding has become better, and said that several
countries lifted their warnings against travel to Thailand.
"If we can do it fast, we still have hope that our tourism industry situation will return to normal by December," the THAI president said.
He said that THAI as a national flag carrier is ready to help rehabilitate and restore the country after the flood crisis, especially in regard to transportation and tourism. The airline has been trying to create understanding on the flood situation to foreigners via 60 THAI offices worldwide with the cooperation from Thai embassies and the Tourism Authority of Thailand offices around the world where THAI operates.
The new Bangkok-Brussels route is in accordance with the company's winter flight schedule for new routes in order to support the higher demand of European passengers and to provide another convenient choice for travelling from and to the European Union.
Brussels of the Kingdom of Belgium is THAI's 72th flying point. The first flights from Bangkok to Brussels and vice versa started Thursday. The flight from Brussels arrived Thailand Friday morning with the cabin factor of 91 per cent. Three flights weekly are operated for such routes.