Floods recede in Northeast

BANGKOK, 3 August 2017: Flights have resumed to Sakhon Nakhon, Wednesday, after heavy flooding caused by the tropical storm, SONCA, that hit the region late last week.

Water overflowed from rivers and reservoirs inundating vast areas of the region that relies mainly on agriculture and rice farming. Some hotels in Sakon Nakhon were flooded to the first floor, while roads were closed in some areas.

Floods that hit most provinces in the central and southern areas of Northeast Thailand especially those close to the Mekong River. The river that demarks the border with Thailand and Laos was at an all-time high last week.

Credit Thai Rath

Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom Office director, Suharith Chanwanangkura, told TTR Weekly that the flood situation in Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Sakon Nakhon was now under control.

However, on Friday there were fresh reports that run-off from rivers and rain over the weekend could present a setback to flood relief.

The office is responsible for promoting tourism to provinces that were badly affected by flooding and overflow from dams and reservoirs. However he was confident recovery efforts would ensure domestic tourism would not be impacted.

“The flood situation in Mukdahan has generally recovered, but some districts in Nakhon Phanom and Sakon Nakhon are still submerged. However, the inundation has not directly impacted on tourist destinations in the provinces,” he said.

Hotels suffered some cancellations mainly from commercial travellers who could not get through to provinces by road. This month is not a peak period for domestic travel, but the national holiday to mark HM The Queen’s birthday falls on Saturday 12 August, which will give Thais a long weekend break. By then travel to the Northeast should peak once more as families from the Northeast living in Bangkok go home to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Credit Thai Rath

Flooding in Sakon Nakhon province was so severe and that deterred visitors initially, but cultural attractions such as Phra That Choeng Chum, Wat Pa Sutthawat, Phu Phan Museum, Phra That Narai Cheng Weng Stupa and Wat Tham Pha Daen remained opened and undamaged from flooding.

Road access was limited in the province and the first floor of some hotels were covered in flood water. There were Facebook posting showing cars submerged in floodwater  in a hotel parking lot on the ground floor.

By early next week tourism should be back to normal across the Northeast, the TAT director reported.

“TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn will visit the region 5 July to meet local operators for discuss ways to revive travel through cooperation with airlines and tour operators,” he added.

“Thai AirAsia and Association of Thai Travel Agents will visit the areas for cleaning and CSR projects in the middle of this month,” the TAT director reported.

The director added the flood situation would have no impact at all on festivals held in the areas such as the Sakhon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival and Lai Rue Fai festival in Nakhon Phanom always hosted in October.

Sakon Nakhon was closed until Wednesday after flood covered a taxi ways last Friday.

Thai AirAsia flies a daily flight and Nok Air operates three daily flights on Bangkok – Sakon Nakhon route.

Thai Hotels Association Northeastern Lower Region president, Prasan Thaitae said: “On average hotel bookings in the region were  55% to 60%…but the average is around 45%, which normal for this time of year…flooding has hit mainly agricultural areas and not impacted on hotels or city destinations.”