News

UPDATE: Bangkok strives to regain tourists' confidence

24 Nov 2011

Floodwaters have begun to recede weeks after Bangkok's worst flooding crisis ever. Luckily, the centre of the city has been spared of the disaster. But businesses of the Thai capital have still suffered from a slump in confidence among tourists.

"People keep asking me if shops in central Bangkok have reopened, and I tell them, how do shops 'reopen' if they have never closed?" said Roger Wu, Hong Kong-born guidebook author and blogger who splits his time between his native city and Bangkok.

Authorities are now making efforts to increase arrivals after the tourism sector suffered as a result of the widely reported flood. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has issued a video news release featuring footage of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, and interviews with tourists during the flood. Shots for the video were shot between November 21 and 22.

A spokesperson from the JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok confirms that although there have been cancellations for group bookings, the hotel is operating as per normal.

While the InterContinental Bangkok has experienced a drop in the number of overseas visitors and corporate groups, the bookings for meetings space in December look to be rising. “Most corporate groups have postponed their events to December this year, and early next year. Our December bookings for meetings spaces are full,” said Mesini Keawrati, the hotel's director of PR and communications. For now, however, the occupancy rate remains low. “ Currently, the hotel is operating at an occupancy rate of 50 per cent. Usually around this period, we expect 90 to 100 per cent occupancy,” said Keawrati.

Some airlines are starting to resume normal operations in light of the retreating waters, including Cathay Pacific. Thai Airways has also resumed operations at its head office on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road as of November 15 after the level of the floodwaters decreased. But Singapore Airlines is still cancelling its SQ978 Singapore-Bangkok and SQ981 Bangkok-Singapore today “monitoring the flood situation in Bangkok closely”.

Cleanups have begun in communities that have been flooded. Hundreds of volunteers have joined monks in gathering the debris into garbage bags on November 22 near a temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok. Areas still flooded include suburbs in the east and west of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area, and northern districts of the city. The Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to drain the northern runoff out of the capital. She has also declared central Bangkok safe and unaffected by floodwaters. 

The flood in Thailand has claimed over 600 lives, and 17 provinces in Thailand are still suffering from the aftermath of the crisis. 

For more information, visit your carrier’s website or http://thailand.prd.go.th/

Tiffany Sandrasageran

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