The Tourism Authority of Thailand has issued the following statement regarding a bomb explosion on the southern island of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand: “At approximately 23.30 on Friday 10th April 2015 there were reports of a car bomb exploding in the basement parking area of the Central Festival shopping mall on Ko Samui.
“Six Thai people and a 12-year-old Italian girl suffered minor injuries and have since been released from hospital. The girl has returned to her accommodation. No British or Irish tourists were affected by the incident.
“The incident is currently under police investigation. Initial reports suggest this is a result of civil political tension. The explosion was not aimed at tourists.
“The management of Central Festival Samui have announced that the shopping mall will be closed today (11th April 2015) to facilitate the investigation. However, the mall is expected to begin its Songkran 2015 celebrations as of tonight as planned.
“The shopping mall will reopen as of this evening and the area of Chaweng remains open as usual. However, security has been stepped up as a preventive measure to ensure the safety and security of tourists and local residents. All tourism-related businesses on Ko Samui including hotels, restaurants, bars, attractions and other shopping malls are operating normally. Songkran festival celebrations will continue as planned. Ko Samui International Airport and other transportation services are operating as per usual, but with increased security.
“Business continues as usual across Thailand as the nation begins its week-long Songkran Thai New Year celebrations from now until Wednesday (15th April 2015). All airports and modes of transportation nationwide continue to operate services as usual, but tourists are advised to allow adequate travelling time due to the busier national holiday period.”
Neil Steedman, News & Features Editor, Irish Travel Trade News, reports from Udon Thani province in Isan, north-eastern Thailand: “I arrived in Thailand on Friday 10th April and only became aware of Friday’s incident on Ko Samui on Sunday. Here in Udon Thani everyone is, as the TAT reports, celebrating Songkran with visits to temples and much celebrating and, as is customary, throwing water over everyone and over passing cars and motorcycles. However, the sun is shining as ever, so (as I have appreciated twice already) your clothes dry out very quickly!