Thai boat operators complain that weather warnings lose them business

Thai tour operators are complaining that official weather warnings are unnecessarily causing large-scale booking cancellations.

TGBRO Region 2 Chief Atipong Sangsilp told The Phuket News that his office had received many complaints from tourism operators, especially those in the boat tour industry.

The complaints centred on recent official weather advisories warning of heavy rain and strong wind-waves for Phuket and the surrounding region, resulting in large numbers of cancellations by tourists believing that Phuket was in for bad weather.

Instead, Phuket during recent days experienced nothing but clear skies and gentle breezes.

The new TGBRO weather advisories will be launched in June, explained Mr Atipong, who as TGBRO Region 2 chief is responsible for serving all tourism business in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Ranong provinces.

“We understand that tourism businesses have been affected by recent weather notices and boating warnings. The complaints we have received pointed out that tourism operators try to reschedule their tours and boat services as much as they can to try to keep their customers, but there are still too many cancellations,” he said.

“Because of this, the TGBRO in June will start issuing its own notices. Our notices will provide details aimed at tourism business only.

“Our notices will consider advisories issued by the Thai Meteorological Department and weather maps. It will be reliable information, and will include additional details about the type of boats that should still be allowed to operate considering the weather forecast and be mores specific about which areas will be subjected to the heavy weather,” Mr Atipong explained.

“This should help to avoid confusion among tourism businesses when they read warnings issued by other government agencies,” he added.

“Tourism operators will just need to read and hold to our notices only. There will be no need for it to be more complicated than that,” he said.

Regardless, Mr Atipong stressed that safety remained the top priority for all tourism operators.

“Everyone must focus on tourist safety first. We don’t want to get risk any lives. Everyone remembers what happened to the Phoenix,” he said.

“Tourism businesses must avoid risky situations. We want tourists to return to Phuket. To do that, we must remind them that safety comes first, and that comes with comfortable service,” Mr Atipong said.

The slew of complaints from tourism operators of unnecessary cancellations follows the Phuket Marine Office issuing a notice to all boat operators calling for them to beware storm conditions and for operators of small boats to refrain from putting to sea from last Thursday (May 23) through to today.