Bangkok bookings on track
BANGKOK, 22 February 2012: Tourism Authority of Thailand is communicating with overseas travel agencies to assess booking trends in the wake of last week’s bomb and grenade incident in a Bangkok residential district, according to TAT deputy governor for Asia and South Pacific, Sansern Ngao-rangsri.
Mr Sansern claims feedback from all 22 TAT overseas offices was positive with no signs of cancellations. TAT officials overseas were told to contact leading travel companies to gain first-hand knowledge.
“In the short-term, there have been no booking cancellations, but we will continue to monitor the markets daily,” said Mr Sansern.
In the meantime the Ministry of Interior is stepping up security in nine provinces. They are: Chiang Mai; Chiang Rai; Ubon Ratchathani; Udon Thani; Khon Kean; Chonburi; Surat Thani; Phuket and Song Khla.
It was described as a preventive measure to ensure tourists are confident about their safety while visiting popular destinations.
So far, 11 countries have issued warnings on Thailand. The United States and Austria, posted the highest alert level.
At a lower alert level, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Hong Kong and South Korea recommended travellers should avoid all but essential travel to Bangkok.
When contacted by TTR Weekly, Thai Travel Agents Association honorary secretary general, Charoen Wangananont said travel patterns remained positive.
“We cannot estimate the impact on tourism, it is too close to the event and there are no immediate signs of cancellations,” he said. “Also we have to say the government has been very active in its response and this is very encouraging.”
The Sukhumvit 71 bomb incident injured five people including an Iranian suspect, who lost both legs when a grenade exploded.
Intelligence officers say it was most probably a botched assassination plan to kill Israeli diplomats. Based on intelligence analysis that suggested the suspects were arguing with one another, the government is now treating the incident as a criminal act rather than terrorism.