Thursday, April 8, 2010

China cancels all Songkran charter flights

China has cancelled 100 charter flights to Bangkok during the Songkran festival following the declaration of a state of emergency in the capital, the Thai-Chinese Tourism Promotion Association said yesterday.

"China decided to cancel all 100 charter flights planned to bring more than 15,000 Chinese to Thailand during the Songkran season due to the declaration of the latest state of emergency, which is not covered by tourists' insurance," said association president Wichit Prakobkosol.

He said Thailand would lose Bt600 million as a result of the cancellations. He predicted that the previously expected number of tourists from other markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore would also drop during next week's holiday.

The United Arab Emirates yesterday told its citizens to avoid travel to Thailand at this time, while Malaysia and Singapore advised their nationals not to make visits to the Kingdom.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumband Paribatra yesterday announced that official Songkran celebrations and religious occasions planned to take place in Silom Road and at its head office from Monday had now been cancelled.

Hotels in Bangkok are currently running at an average occupancy of between 30 and 40 per cent, a level that is expected to fall even further next week due to fewer arrivals.

Songkran festival celebrations in 13 other provinces are scheduled to take place as planned.

Sarawut Saetew, president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Association, said the number of visitors to Chiang Mai would plunge compared to the same period last year. Hotel operators in Chiang Mai have received few new bookings for next week.

To encourage tourists, the association and the Tourism Authority of Thailand's (TAT) Chiang Mai branch are offering 50-per-cent discounts at all hotels in Chiang Mai during Songkran week.

Moreover, local and foreign tourists are automatically receiving tourist insurance with coverage of Bt100,000 each.

Apichart Sankary, honorary board member of the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations, said the industry's income had plunged since the red-shirt protesters descended on Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok last weekend.

"Private operators need to see cooperation between the protesters and the authorities as soon as possible, as that is the way to solve the problem," he said.

The TAT in a statement advised tourists to avoid areas near the protest sites, especially Rajprasong, Rama I Road, Ploenchit and Chidlom, where most of the capital's major shopping malls are still closed.

TAT deputy governor Prakit Priyakiat said the agency had informed its 26 offices worldwide to monitor the situation and give correct information to potential tourists and operators abroad.

The TAT today will summarise the impact of the crisis on tourism and tourist cancellation numbers, as well as provide a projection of travel business during the Songkran festival.


Songkran Festival 2012 said...

Wow, this would have been terrible news for Songkran travellers back in 2010. Hopefully, things will be a lot better in Songkran 2012.

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