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Tourism Authority of Thailand

TAT cancels all New Year celebrations

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reflected the sombre mood of the nation by announcing that it would cancel all the celebrations…

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reflected the sombre mood of the nation by announcing that it would cancel all the celebrations it had planned to see in the New Year.

With the entire Kingdom plunged into mourning for the victims of Sunday’s tsunami, TAT governor Juthamas Siriwan said that the TAT would revoke its support for New Year celebrations in Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok, Hat Yai and Phuket.

Any of these places which still wished to celebrate New Year would have to do so without TAT backing, she said.

Instead the TAT will commemorate the dead, who include over 700 foreign tourists, by inviting tourists to make merit at temples.

Since the tsunami struck on Sunday morning, the TAT has been instrumental in getting relief operations off the ground, with staff on hand at airports in Bangkok and Phuket to ensure that tourists are as comfortable as they can be under the circumstances.

Tourists returning from the south, where massive tidal waves destroyed entire holiday resorts, are now being accommodated in university dormitories in Bangkok.

The TAT has also coordinated efforts to ensure that an initial 1,200 tourists have been able to fly back to their homelands.

“Thailand is doing well in helping tourists”, Mrs. Juthamas said today. “The foreign media are reporting interviews with foreign tourists in which they describe Thais as being kind people, even when they have lost everything. They are also saying that they understand that this was a natural disaster, and that they might return to Thailand in the future. This shows that we are doing our best”.

The TAT governor acknowledged that the tsunami had led to a spate of booking cancellations from foreign tourists, but expressed confidence that this situation would only be temporary.

Nonetheless, she pointed out that around one third of the nation’s tourism revenue came from the afflicted provinces of Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi, and said that it was essential that repair work began as soon as possible.

While destinations in the south were being restored, tourists would be encouraged to visit other areas of the country, including Pattaya, Rayong, Trat, Chantaburi, Hua Hin and the northeast, she said.

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