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Songkran on Phuket being celebrated in Patong

Phuket Perfectly Safe, Say Travel Leaders

Monday, April 13, 2009
Phuketwan on Travel Warnings

PHUKET remains a perfectly safe holiday destination despite the confrontation on the streets of Bangkok.

Andaman region tourism industry leaders were anxious today to reassure visitors that they would be safe and secure on the island.

''There is nothing to worry about on Phuket,'' the director of the regional branch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Setthapan Putthani, told Phuketwan.

''The protests are part of the democratic process. They are happening in a small part of the capital.

''Tourists on Phuket are enjoying their holidays as usual. Songkran is a great time to be here.

''Tourists should look at the travel warnings and distinguish between Bangkok and Phuket.''

Travel warnings for Thailand, upgraded by countries including China, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Russia and Malaysia, often fail to take account of the political and geographical differences between Phuket and the capital.

Resorts on and around the Phuket region report 80 percent occupancy rates for the Songkran-Easter break. However, the numbers are likely to drop needlessly because of the travel alerts.

''Direct flights and charter flights to Phuket mean that tourists coming to the island are perfectly safe,'' Khun Setthapan said.

''There is also no suggestion of any group taking over Bangkok airport, so transfers are continuing unhindered.''

The problem for many travel agents is insuring their travellers, a new concept introduced recently in Europe, which means responsibility lies with with the agents.

This leads to a more cautious approach when nations issue travel warnings. As a result, the whole of Thailand's tourism industry suffers, even though Phuket is perfectly safe.

The director of Phuket International Airport, Wing Commander Wicha Nurnlop, said that there had been no cancellations of flights to Phuket.

''I don't understand why the news from Bangkok is made to seem so bad when there has really been very little violence,'' he said.

An additional 36 flights to Phuket have been added for the Songkran holiday period.

''Passengers coming through the airport are happy, as you'd expect holidaymakers with no concerns to be,'' Wing Commander Wicha said.

No Phuket events have been cancelled. The annual Phuket International Cricket Sixes tournament is set to go ahead on the island from April 15-April 19.

The People's Alliance for Democracy, the yellow-shirt group that blockaded the Bangkok airports in November and triggered the rise to power of the Democrat Party, plans a large outdoor concert on the island on April 18.

More than 5000 people are expected to attend.

PAD Phuket leader Natjarong Eakpemsub said today that there were only a few red-shirts on the island, traditionally a Democrat stronghold, and they had all gone to Bangkok.

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Update: Songkran 'Revolution' Goes Quiet
Update Troops were on Bangkok streets for Songkran Day after years of political standoff. But there were no reports of deaths or serious clashes with red shirt protesters.
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Comments

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Safe??
I and my family are sick of being attacked by time share sellers!!

Posted by Jason King on April 18, 2009 21:58

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Jason, just tell them you work for Immigration and would like to see their work permit. They sprint away like jet-powered rabbits, leaving you to smile.

Posted by Graham on April 19, 2009 07:03

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my husband and i are thinking of visiting phuket in november,would the weather be good and is it safe from tsunamies and earthquakes???and the flights to phuket, they safe to fly??

Editor: The weather in November on Phuket is usually very good. Nobody is expecting another tsunami. And flights to Phuket meet international safety standards. It's one of the best places in the world to take a break. The Thai people are superb at hospitality.

Posted by ab on September 27, 2009 21:06

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Dear Ab,...
regarding your question "safe from tsunamies and earthquakes" -- an earthquake can happen any time so a tsunami - however the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) of Thailand is prepared for that - so listen to them and learn about earthquake and tsunamies before you go to Phuket.

NOTE TO THE EDITOR: You statement "Nobody is expecting another tsunami." is not helpful - as NOBODY knows when the next tsunami making earthquake will occur and it has nothing to do with expectations -- however, preparations are done for this day, with earthquake measurements by the Thai Meteorological Department and the NDWC or any warning.

Posted by Mud on September 27, 2009 22:32


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