TAT Sets Up Information Centre For Tourists
TAT Sets Up Information Centre
BANGKOK, Dec. 28/InfoQuest-AsiaNet/ --
Six Thai provinces have been affected by the ‘tsunami’ wave triggered by the earthquake off Sumatra, Indonesia, on December 26, 2004 -- Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga, Trang, Satun and Ranong. All other parts of Thailand are functioning as usual. Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Suwat Liptapallop chaired a meeting of government officials and private sector representatives to assess the situation and mobilise the resources needed to help the international and domestic visitors affected by the catastrophe.
The first step discussed was to arrange for the smooth transfer of as many visitors within the area as possible back to Bangkok by airlines which are providing a free service - THAI Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Air Asia, Orient Air, Phuket Air and Nok Air. The government will provide those affected with free accommodation, food and medical care at six selected public and private hospitals.
Information centres are to be set up to help visitors establish contact with their friends and relatives. The Centres will be set up in Phuket, Krabi and Don Muang Airports. Representatives of TAT, the Tourist Police and Thai Hotels Association (THA) will work together to provide the necessary information. The Royal Thai Embassy in different countries around the world will also serve as an information centre for the local media.
Among the private sector, THA is coordinating with its members to provide accommodation for tourists in Bangkok and surrounding areas. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said that all international visitors who have lost their passports would be issued a Certificate of Identification as a temporary substitute to facilitate their departure from Thailand.
Representatives of embassies of 30 countries are heading for Phuket to provide aid and the necessary identification papers to citizens of their countries. Phuket Airport is operating normally. Germany, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands have already sent aircraft to pick up their respective citizens.
The Tourist Police of Phuket and Krabi are being assisted by the regular police force to set up a tourist police call centre that can be reached at 1155. TAT Governor Mrs Juthamas Siriwan expressed her deepest condolences to the families, relatives and friends of all those affected by the tragedy and said that TAT is doing everything in its power to be of assistance to the victims.
The coast bordering the Gulf of Thailand has not been impacted. Popular destinations like Koh Samui, Pattaya, Rayong, Hua Hin and Cha-am are safe and still open to visitors. Similarly, north and northeastern Thailand is also safe and ready to receive the usual festive season traffic.