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Monday 17 January 2005

Thailand: SOS to the world: Please visit

Three weeks after the tsunami, the country's tourism industry is sending out a different kind of SOS to world travellers _ Please come to Thailand.

Even as Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga and other affected provinces begin repair efforts following the Dec 26 disaster, tourism authorities agree that the economic impact could only worsen the losses unless travellers returned to the area.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects losses of four billion baht per month over the next several months for the six affected provinces. Economic growth forecasts for the year could be cut to just 5.6% from 6.3% due to the tsunami, with some 200,000 jobs in the tourism sector potentially at risk.

In the first two weeks after the disaster, passenger arrivals at Bangkok International Airport fell 30%, while hotels and resorts across the southern provinces reported huge numbers of cancellations, right at the peak of the travel season.

Foreigners wanting to assist tsunami victims could do best by maintaining their travel plans to the area, according to panelists at a seminar held last Friday titled "After the Tsunami: Reviving the Andaman Coast", hosted by the Bangkok Post and Post Today newspapers.

Read the Full Article from The Bangkok Post

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