Fri, Oct 14, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Travel agencies upbeat despite Thailand floods

STATUS QUO:Despite the travel alert for Thailand, local travel agencies said their tour group itineraries would for the most part remain as they have been

Staff Writer, with CNA

Travel to Thailand has been only slightly affected by the flooding there, although Taiwan has upgraded its travel alert for the country and cautioned against non-essential trips, travel agencies said yesterday.

The Tourism Bureau on Wednesday put a total of 30 Thai provinces on a watch list, saying flooding caused by weeks of rainfall is likely to pose a risk to travelers.

The affected areas include Chiang Mai, Ang Thong, Nakhon Sawan and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya provinces.

However, travel agencies said the itineraries of their tour groups to Thailand would remain largely the same since there have been no signs of danger in the major tourist areas such as Bangkok, or even in Chiang Mai.

“We have been keeping a close watch on the situation in Bangkok, but we’ve seen no signs to support the ‘rumors’ that the capital will be hit by floods,” said Chou Wen-chuan (周文娟), manager of Lion Travel Service Co.

According to a statement issued by the bureau, floods are expected to affect Bangkok from tomorrow through Tuesday.

“Chiang Mai is all sunshine,” Gloria Tour manager Sui Kui-chen said. “Our groups that are already in Thailand will continue with their travel plans, but there’s a slight chance we may have to make adjustments for 10 other groups that are scheduled to visit Thailand before the end of the month.”

There have been no casualties among the 2,000 Taiwanese travelers currently in Thailand, officials said.

Meanwhile, the bureau said the flooding would not affect the Thai travel market for long because the dry season is approaching.

“In addition, we are entering the slow travel season that starts in late October, which means the impact of the flooding on the Thai travel market is likely to be minimal,” said Chin Yu-chen, a bureau section chief.

Taiwanese tourist arrivals in Thailand have remained steady at about 320,000 a year.

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