50% drop in Chinese tour groups arriving in Phuket

50% drop in Chinese tour groups arriving in Phuket

Tour boats remain docked in Phuket as local tour operators urge the government to improve safety standards to woo back Chinese visitors. (File photo)
Tour boats remain docked in Phuket as local tour operators urge the government to improve safety standards to woo back Chinese visitors. (File photo)

PHUKET: The number of Chinese tour groups arriving in Phuket is down by half over safety worries and serious efforts are needed to restore confidence and bring them back, the Phuket Tourism Association has warned.

Association president Phumkit Raktae-ngam said on Wednesday the Phoenix boat tragedy had a major impact on the feelings of Chinese people and had put them off visiting Phuket.

On July 5 the tour boat Phoenix capsized off Phuket during a storm and 47 Chinese tourists drowned.

"About 50% of the tour groups are not making their normal arrivals. Chinese tourists have stopped visiting Phuket because they are worried about their safety," Mr Phumkit said.

"The problem must be solved at its root cause. In the meantime, the salvage of the boat has made no progress." 

The government needed to increase human resources to ensure public safety and communicate better with Chinese visitors. Communications from the Chinese government might not effectively reach its people, he said.

With increased guarantees of their safety, the vanished Chinese tour groups were likely to return within six months.

He added that the number of tourists from Europe, Russia, India and the Middle East visiting Phuket were rising.

For the vegetarian festival from Oct 9-17, the hotel occupancy rate was 65% in Phuket and 50% in downtown areas, Mr Phumkit said.

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(Bangkok Post archive video)


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