Radiation prompts 70% tour cancellation to Japan

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BANGKOK, 15 March 2011 (NNT) – Over 70 percent of Thai travelers have canceled their trips to Japan on fears of the current radiation leakage, causing a loss of income among tourism entrepreneurs to the tune of 2 billion THB. 

Citing a survey of over 40 tour companies in Thailand, President of the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) Charoen Wangananont said more than 70 percent of customers who had previously booked packages to Japan during March-May this year, or about 100,000 people, were gradually canceling their trips. The companies are at risk of losing a massive income worth a total of 2 billion THB.

The cancellation is a result of the health scare from the leaking radiation from nuclear reactors in northeastern Japan, which was recently hit by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and a deadly tsunami.

Mr Charoen noted that the TTAA had sought cooperation from airlines operating flights from Thailand to Japan to exempt the ticket cancellation fee during this period. He pointed out that travel agencies would also reimburse customers their money, reasoning that all sides should help each other amidst the difficult situation.

The number of Thai travelers to Japan is likely to drop 30 percent throughout this year, as opposed to an increase of 20 percent targeted earlier. However, the TTAA President voiced his belief that the number of Thai people traveling overseas would reach 5.5 million, growing by 15-20 percent from last year and generating up to 280 billion THB in circulation.