Tsunami warning dampens Phuket tourism industry

The holiday island of Phuket

The holiday island of Phuket

Published Dec 10, 2010


Astrological predictions that a tsunami will hit southern Thailand this month have led to a wave of hotel room cancellations at beach resorts, news reports said.

Hotels in Phuket, Phangnga, Ranong and Surin - beach resorts on the Andaman Sea coast - have reported the cancellation of 10 per cent of room bookings this month in the wake of predictions by well-known astrologers that the coast will be hit by another tsunami, the Bangkok Post reported.

A tsunami struck the area on December 26, 2004 killing more 5 000 people, half of whom were foreign tourists.

It was the first tsunami to hit the region in more than 100

years, caused by an unusually strong earthquake off the northern coast of Sumatra.

Most experts say the chances of another tsunami are small, but Thai astrologer Warin Buawiratlert and several other soothsayers have predicted a repeat disaster this December, causing ripples of concern, especially among Thai tourists, and irking hoteliers.

“I think these people should take responsibility for their fortune-telling, because this is making an impact on tourism in our southern provinces,” said Paiboon Upatising, president of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation. - Sapa-dpa

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