Bangkok hoteliers attending a tourism conference in the city-state are expressing growing concern about the possibility of serious floods in the Thai capital,while some bookings have already been cancelled amid rising guest inquiries about the situation.
They said yesterday on the sidelines of ITB Asia 2011 that while they are prepared to face potential flooding without assistance, they are not sure whether the government can protect Suvarnabhumi airport. If the country’s main airport is flooded, chaos will reign throughout the tourism sector.
Peerin Bhayungvej, general manager of the Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, said that even though tourists could use U-Tapao airport in the worst-case scenario, the runway area is not enough to serve a high volume of traffic.
Transport to U-Tapao would also have to be coordinated.
Located adjacent to Suvarnabhumi airport, the Best Western facility in recent days has been building a dyke 50 metres long and 1.6 metres high in back of the property between it and a canal, plus water pumps are being installed.
Enough food to feed 300 guests for 10 days has also been stockpiled.
“Our staff are all pitching in to help lay sandbags. Five conferences with up to 700 guests have already cancelled their bookings. Advance bookings will likely remain okay so long as the airport does not flood,” he said.
He admitted receiving concerned e-mails from people who are holding bookings and want to know the situation as well as what protective measures the hotel is taking.
“News about the massive Thai flooding is shaking the confidence of many Japanese tourists,” said Mr Peerin.
The Buddy Group, a local hotel and restaurant company, said its 83-room Buddy Oriental Riverside Pakkred, which has been open for only two months in Nonthaburi province, has been underwater since last week.
It postponed plans to open new hotels in Phuket and Koh Samui and a restaurant in Bangkok’s Soi Ekamai.
Sorathep Rojpotjanaruch, the group’s chief operating officer, said the company will need millions of baht to renovate the Nonthaburi hotel.
“It will take about a month to renovate our hotel and reopen it in December. But not only Bangkok’s outskirts have been affected by the flooding _ so has Khao San Road. Already there are 30% fewer tourists on Khao San,” he said.
“If the government cannot improve the situation this month, we won’t see a high season this year.”
Source: Bangkok Post