Tourists flock to Hat Yai for holidays; bombed hotel reopens

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SONGKHLA, April 12 – Malaysian tourists have begun their annual migration to Hat Yai and are checking in at the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel, which temporarily closed, after the March 31 car bombing.

Travellers checking in included those with advance reservations and walk-in customers.

Security personnel from concerned agencies including defence volunteers and female paramilitary rangers are on duty to ensure public security in the area holding the Hat Yai Midnight Songkran 2012 activities in the town centre.

Water throwing had not seriously begun on Thursday morning, and the city is still quiet. Local retailers said the ambiance was different than that in previous years, where the road would have been full with tourists enjoying water fights.

However, they expected the afternoon will bring more people to the Songkran festivities as security precautions are creating confidence among local residents and travellers alike.

The bombing at Hat Yai’s Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel killed three persons–including two Malaysians–and wounded over 350 tourists and shoppers, while two car bombings in Yala’s provincial seat claimed 12 lives and wounded about 200 victims.