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January 01, 2006

Thailand Tourism, One Year after the tsunami

In today's LA Times, Beverly Beyette writes a simple roundup about the regrowth of tourism spots in Phuket and lower Phang-Nga provinces. The Merlin resort she talks about is the one that was so generous to volunteers, allowing us to swim in their five pools whether we were guests at the hotel or not. An absolutely gorgeous resort.

Many places on Phuket have made a remarkable recovery. Hotels and restaurants are open, and the beaches are clean, the water clear and green. Tourists will see little physical damage, but economic damage is significant. "We lost about half of our [tourism] income" in 2005, compared with 2004, Pattanapong Aikwanich, president of Phuket Tourist Assn., told me. "And we had to repair everything."...

...And everywhere, I heard the same appeal: Tell the tourists to come. It's safe. Phuket is back.

Said Phuket Tourist Assn. President Aikwanich: "If people want to send money, clothes, thanks. But what we need now is tourists."

Posted by sedda at January 1, 2006 11:08 AM