Despite the current flooding that has been affecting the central region of Thailand and some parts of Bangkok, other tourist attractions and destinations outside of the central provinces are experiencing normal conditions and continue welcoming visitors. These include Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui, which are favourite destinations for tourists from Ireland and the UK, as well as Pattaya, Rayong and Hua Hin. Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, the main gateway to Thailand, is not affected by the flooding and all flights continue operating as per usual. Provinces in the North, such as, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and Chiang Rai, are not affected by the flooding in the Central Region.
In the Bangkok Metropolitan Area, the central part of the city where tourists usually visit is not flooded except for some places close to the Chao Phraya River during high tides. Flooding in the Bangkok area is mainly in outlying residential and industrial zones in the city’s north and east, as well on the western side of the Chao Phraya River.
Suvarnabhumi Airport, which has considerable water management and flood prevention measures, serves over 800 flights per day. There were more than 958,000 international visitor arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport during October 2011. Connecting flights to other airports within Thailand are operating normally.
Travellers from Ireland and the UK can also fly directly to the Chiang Mai and Phuket International Airports, which serve the north and south of Thailand. In October 2011, the number of tourist arrivals at Phuket was up almost 28% compared to the same period last year.
“At Tourism Authority of Thailand, our hearts go out to all the Thai people affected by the inundation,” said Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT’s Deputy Governor for International Marketing, (Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas). “All Thais are pulling together to help each other and the country has received generous support from many countries. With the flood waters now receding in the northern provinces, the areas worst affected by the flooding in the central provinces are expected to be clear within the near future.”
As the flooding has mainly affected Thailand’s agricultural and industrial sectors, tourism will play an important role in sustaining the country’s economy, providing employment and contributing to Thailand’s recovery.
Thai tourism has proven to be very resilient in the past, recovering quickly when faced with difficult times. The TAT aims to ensure that travellers from Ireland and the UK understand the current flooding situation has not involved most of Thailand’s tourism attractions and destinations, so they can still visit the Kingdom for their holidays.
“The TAT hopes that more travellers from Ireland and the UK will visit Thailand, especially those who plan to come during the high season. They will enjoy all the country has to offer while making an important contribution to the Thai economy, especially in terms of supporting jobs in the tourism sector that generate income to help thousands of Thai families to get back on their feet,” said Mrs. Juthaporn.
Martin Craigs, Chief Executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, based in Bangkok but serving travel and tourism industry throughout the Asia and Pacific region, said: “I have been alarmed by the economic collateral damage done to Thai and Mekong Delta tourism by the narrow focus of some international reporting. As the facts presented by TAT show, Thailand is open for tourism and is warmly welcoming visitors from around the world.”
The Royal Thai Government has a revival plan to ensure a quick recovery and for the country to return to normalcy. For the tourism sector, the Government, along with the private sector, NGOs, and people from all walks of life will work closely together to recover and regain international confidence.