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Hat Yai: Tourists stay away

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With 11 people dead & hundreds injured, half of the 12,500 hotel bookings for Songkran have cancelled. 

Hat Yai bombs

Photo of debris littering the ground after Saturday’s bombing in Hat Yai. Experts are pleading for a more active government role in securing the region and salvaging its reputation as casualties mount from the southern insurgency (Photos: Wichayant Boonchote and Thiti Wannamontha). 

Click button to listen to Hat Yai Bombs to download

Economics

Bombs deal a blow to Hat Yai tourism sector

Stepped-up measures urged to restore image
3/04/2012
Post Reporters

McDonald'sThe car bomb attacks in Hat Yai have hurt tourism and local business, leading more than half of 12,500 room bookings for Songkran to be cancelled. 

Somchart Pimthanapoonporn, who heads the Songkhla Tourism Business Council and the Hat Yai-Songkhla Hoteliers Association, said it would take three to six months for the situation to return to normal. 

"Operators not only in tourism but also other businesses are not confident in the security standard of the government," he said.

Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president of policy and planning for the Tourism Council of Thailand, said the council expected the bomb attacks to result in a loss of 200 million baht in revenue from tourism during Songkran.

Earlier, the council had forecast the water-splashing festival to generate more than 500 million baht.

"The government should seriously talk with the private sector there, especially about security in hotels, public areas, even department stores," Mr Kongkrit said. "Besides, it should organise a big event to recover the tourism image of Hat Yai after the situation starts improving."

Tanit Sorat, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said a short-term hit to tourism and confidence was unavoidable given the high number of casualties in the bombing.

"Car bombs didn't happen for many years in Thailand, and this time as many as 11 people were killed while hundreds were injured," Mr Tanit said. "The incident in Hat Yai occurred in the main shopping area, thus tourism and confidence will certainly see immediate effects.

"What worries me is that tourism in other southern provinces such as Phuket, Phangnga and Krabi will also be hurt."

He urged beefed-up security in public places such as hotels and shopping malls and called on the government to quickly explain the situation to the outside world.

With international tourists, especially Malaysians, about to come to Thailand, the state cannot just ignore the case and let foreign media tell the story, said Dr Tanit.

He advised the government to revamp its measures for tackling the southern insurgency, including learning what other countries such as Israel have done in dealing with separatist attacks.

Nearly all companies and investors do not want to operate in the Deep South any more, Dr Tanit said.

Surachai Jitpukdeebodintra, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce of Songkhla, said the chamber would call a meeting tomorrow of parties from both the public and private sectors to brainstorm safety and security measures for restoring tourist confidence and to assemble relief packages for victims.

"Bombings deliver a direct hit to tourism, one of the key revenue streams of Songkhla on top of the agricultural and industrial sectors," he said. "But more important is how long the impact will be and the measures the government and private sector must enact to rehabilitate the city.

According to Mr Surachai, life and general insurance packages will possibly be offered to quickly restore tourist trust.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Economics, Bombs deal a blow to Hat Yai tourism sector, Stepped-up measures urged to restore image, 3/04/2012, Post Reporters, link

Southern Insurgency Vocabulary

insurgency - a group of people fighting to take control of a country or a part of a country by force, armed, using military means (See Wikipedia)
insurgent - a member of an insurgency, fighting to take over a country or part of a country 
the southern insurgency - same as "South Thailand insurgency"

South Thailand insurgency
-  an insurgency led by a group of local Muslim insurgents that is taking place in Southern Thailand, mostly in the Malay Pattani region and the three southernmost provinces of Thailand. "Violence has increasingly spilling over into other provinces. Although separatist violence has occurred for decades in the region, the campaign escalated in 2004" (See Wikipedia)

debris -
broken pieces on left on the ground after something has beend destroyed by a bomb, accident or fire
litter the ground - thrown around without any order, like garbage
debris littering the ground
pleading - requesting for something การขอร้อง, การวิงวอน
active - working, operating, doing its job
role - what a person typically does in an organisation or activity บทบาท
pleading for a more active government role
securing - taking steps to protect from harm
securing the region
pleading for a more active government role in securing the region
reputation - what people believe about someone or something (good reputation, bad reputation) ชื่อเสียง ความนับหน้าถือตา ที่เป็นที่รู้จัก
salvage - try to get something back that has been lost, restore something lost
salvaging its reputation -
try to get back good reputation after losing resputation
casualties - deaths and injuries ผู้บาดเจ็บ เสียชีวิต
mount - to increase เพิ่มขึ้น
casualties mount - more and more injuries and deaths
salvaging its reputation as casualties mount

Photo of debris littering the ground outside a McDonald’s at Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel after Saturday’s bombing in Hat Yai. Experts are pleading for a more active government role in securing the region and salvaging its reputation as casualties mount from the southern insurgency

blow - an event that damages your chances of success สิ่งที่ทำให้เกิดความเสียหาย
sector - a part of a country's economy or business activity ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (See Wikipedia)
Bombs deal a blow to Hat Yai tourism sector

step up - increase an activity
measures - actions taken to deal with a problem มาตราการ
stepped up measures
urged - requested them to do, advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน
restore - to cause a particular situation to exist again, especially a good one ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something ภาพลักษณ์
restore image - to make the opinion that people have of them good again (went from good opinion to bad opinion)
stepped-up measures urged to restore image

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
The car bomb attacks in Hat Yai have hurt tourism and local business, leading more than half of 12,500 room bookings for Songkran to be cancelled. 

Somchart Pimthanapoonporn, who heads the Songkhla Tourism Business Council and the Hat Yai-Songkhla Hoteliers Association, said it would take three to six months for the situation to return to normal. 

confident - being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
security - the activity of making safe or protecting from harm รักษาความปลอดภัย

"Operators not only in tourism but also other businesses are not confident in the security standard of the government," he said.

policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieveoutcomes นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
revenue - income from taxes or business activities รายได้

Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president of policy and planning for the Tourism Council of Thailand, said the council expected the bomb attacks to result in a loss of 200 million baht in revenue from tourism during Songkran.

forecast - what you believe will happen in the future; a statement about what will happen in the future based on information available now พยากรณ์ คาดการณ์
splash water - throw water in the air, make water fly in the air
water-splashing
water-splashing festival - the water festival; Songkran
generate
- create สร้าง กระตุ้นให้เิกิด to produce ก่อให้เกิด
generate more than 500 million baht.

Earlier, the council had forecast the water-splashing festival to generate more than 500 million baht.

recover - when the situation improves, gets better การฟื้น
"The government should seriously talk with the private sector there, especially about security in hotels, public areas, even department stores," Mr Kongkrit said. "Besides, it should organise a big event to recover the tourism image of Hat Yai after the situation starts improving."

confidence - the quality of being certain; feel sure about something ความมั่นใจ ความเชื่อมั่น
short-term hit to confidence 
unavoidable - impossible to stop from happening หลีกเลี่ยงไม่ได้ อย่างเลี่ยงไม่ได้\
short-term hit to tourism and confidence was unavoidable
incident - an unpleasant event (something that happened that was unpleasant)
public places - places where there are a lot of people, places where anyone can go such as a sidewalks, parks, shopping malls, government buildings
beef up - make stronger  
beef up security - make security stronger; make a place safer
beed up security in public places

Tanit Sorat, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said a short-term hit to tourism and confidence was unavoidable given the high number of casualties in the bombing. "Car bombs didn't happen for many years in Thailand, and this time as many as 11 people were killed while hundreds were injured," Mr Tanit said. "The incident in Hat Yai occurred in the main shopping area, thus tourism and confidence will certainly see immediate effects. What worries me is that tourism in other southern provinces such as Phuket, Phangnga and Krabi will also be hurt. He urged beefed-up security in public places such as hotels and shopping malls and called on the government to quickly explain the situation to the outside  world.

international - ระหว่างประเทศ between countries
international tourists - tourists from other countries
state
- government รัฐ
ignore - to pay no attention to something; pretend that you have not noticed or do not know about something ทำเพิกเฉย
media - radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ
foreign media tell the story
let foreign media tell the story
revamp - to make a major change or revision to something ปรับปรุงใหม่
tackling - making an organised and determined attempt to deal with a problem การรับมือ แก้ไข จัดการกับปัญหา
revamp measures for tackling the southern insurgency

With international tourists, especially Malaysians, about to come to Thailand, the state cannot just ignore the case and let foreign media tell the story, said Dr Tanit. He advised the government to revamp its measures for tackling the southern insurgency, including learning what other countries such as Israel have done in dealing with separatist attacks. Nearly all companies and investors do not want to operate in the Deep South any more, Dr Tanit said.

meeting - when a group of people come together to discuss issues and make decisions การประชุม
parties - people or companies entering into a business arrangement or deal
assemble - bring parts together in a single group ประกอบ  to bring together and form a group การนำมาร่วมกัน
relief - help; assistance การช่วยให้พ้นภัย money, food, medicine etc. that is given to help people in places where there has been a natural disaster, war, etc. เครื่องบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
victims - people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc.

Surachai Jitpukdeebodintra, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce of Songkhla, said the chamber would call a meeting tomorrow of parties from both the public and private sectors to brainstorm safety and security measures for restoring tourist confidence and to assemble relief packages for victims.

key - important คนสำคัญ
streams - a flow that does not stop, keeps on coming all the time
impact - an effect or influence ผลกระทบ
rehabilitate - to return someone or something to a good or healthy condition, state or way of living ฟื้นฟูสุขภาพ
insurance - a system of protection against loss, a person pays money every month (premiums) for a guarantee that the company will pay them money if they or their property is damaged or lost (See Wikipedia) การประกันภัย
trust - when people have confidence in each other (so they can work together effectively) ความเชื่อมั่น
restore tourist trust

"Bombings deliver a direct hit to tourism, one of the key revenue streams of Songkhla on top of the agricultural and industrial sectors," he said. "But more important is how long the impact will be and the measures the government and private sector must enact to rehabilitate the city. According to Mr Surachai, life and general insurance packages will possibly be offered to quickly restore tourist trust.

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