Tourism Authority Of Thailand Koh Samet Oil Spill Propaganda Fail

The Tourism Authority of Thailand sponsored a party on Koh Samet to cover up the lack of information provided during the oil spill last month.

It has now been almost one month since the Koh Samet Oil Spill and the Tourism Authority of Thailand has produced 3 total Oil Spill Fact Sheets that were about as far from facts as could be.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Koh Samet Oil Spill

Tourism Authority of Thailand Koh Samet Oil Spill

The Tourism Authority of Thailand didn’t learn during the 2011 Bangkok floods that honesty is the best policy and continues to spread propaganda and mislead the public about the impact of the Koh Samet Oil Spill.

Even the local almost English online media is sugar-coating the Koh Samet Oil Spill by reporting that the Tourism Authority of Thailand gets proactive to revive tourists’ confidence in Koh Samet.  This is NOT being proactive – this is damage control.   Regardless, the Tourism Authority of Thailand failed miserably again.

Sai Kaew Beach came alive after sunset on Saturday as singers and bands from Bangkok took turns going onstage to entertain tourists. A free flow of beer helped fuel the fun at the night party.

This goes to show the mindset of the Tourism Authority of Thailand – hold a party on the other side of Koh Samet, give free beer to Bangkokians visiting Sai Kaew beach, and pretend that all is well.

This was a new effort of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to restore the tourism industry here after Ao Phrao Beach was hit by an oil spill three weeks ago. The message was clear: that the island is still safe and there are white sand beaches to explore.

If the Tourism Authority of Thailand considers Sai Kaew Beach to be one of the white sand beaches, they are lying unless there was a major clean-up to remove the raw sewage from deep down in the sand.

Tourism Minister Somsak Pureesrisak presided over the opening, along with his Gog Gag Tour of about 200 media people. He said pictures of the scene would be distributed to TAT’s 26 offices worldwide to help publicise the island as a way to restore foreign tourists’ confidence.

Spreading the lies globally is how the Tourism Authority of Thailand operates.  I guess that the Minister of Tourism and Sports doesn’t understand that Koh Samet is mainly visited by Bangkokians on the weekend.

At the event, 60 buyers from travel agencies from the Northeast and four associations from Bangkok were invited to meet with 19 hotel operators, but not all of them attended. This move was aimed at attracting tourists from Isan to fill the huge number of vacant rooms in the short term.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand will publish photos of a beach not affected by the oil spill to attract foreigners and also promotes Koh Samet to tourism operators from Isaan.  Just shows how clueless the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Minister of Tourism and Sports really are.

Worarat Kenknunthod, an executive at the Love Love Travel agency in Nakhon Ratchasima, said Samet was among the destinations of northeastern tourists, but now some were worried about safety and the contaminated sea water. For example, 150 people in two group tours had cancelled their trips to Samet with her company.

Smart people cancelled since they knew about the high levels of mercury in the water that the Tourism Authority of Thailand never mentioned.

Hotel operators welcomed the effort, but said it would not be very productive. Some said that they were invited just two days before the event started. They could not prepare anything to present. So far, there is no sign of recovery on the island.

Tourism Authority of Thailand piss-poor planning at its finest.

Since the crisis, hotels have suffered a sharp drop in room bookings. The long weekend was an example. Normally, hotels on the island are almost 100 per cent full, but this year, occupancy was only 40 per cent at some properties.

Claiming 40% occupancy means it was really about 20%.

To survive, they started to cut their room rate to half. Some of them said they were hurt doubly as their margin was slashed to online channels, especially Agoda. However, that has not helped boost customers either.

This is where the Tourism Authority of Thailand and/or the Minister of Tourism and Sports should have helped by subsidizing the hotels instead of paying for some tour operators from Isaan to visit.

”It’s hard to predict the trend for Samet in the coming months because tourists come from all over the world and they know the situation from the news. The high season here starts in October and I’m not sure whether this will be their destination,” said Surajai Tummanont, managing director of Nimmanoradee Resort on Pakaraong Beach.

Koh Samet will not be on anyone’s list to visit for the next year or two thanks to the bullshit reporting by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

What she wants to do is invite diplomats to come here. What they see would be spread to their people, leading to the rebuilding of tourists’ warm feelings towards the island. In general, the occupancy rate will range from 70-90 per cent from October-December, then will be on the rise till May. She expressed concern that foreign tourists may shift their travel plans to Hua Hin and Koh Chang.

She is just as clueless as the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  Getting foreign envoys to visit will do nothing.

Neung Limpititaya, a hotel operator, said this was the worst scenario in the 15 years she has lived here. Occupancy is low and cancellations are high. Her restaurant, which used to be a major financial contributor, is still a basket case. The next headache is how to pay the wages of more than Bt60,000 per month to all 18 employees.

Her restaurant is a basket case?

The situation is getting worse and she has received no assistance from PTT Global Chemical. She called on PTT to consider the post-crisis situation. Also, government agencies should be in harmony and send a single message to the public. If not, it will worsen the situation because it has been dominated by negative news.

The Thai Government, including the Minister of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have sent a single sugar-coated message to the world instead of telling the truth.

”I’m trying to stand on my own feet right now. But PTT must give a hand to help. I have got nothing from them. Maybe, PTT helps victims via a lucky draw,” she said.

Big Business in cahoots with Big Government.

Tourism Minister Somsak vowed to help. He has floated the idea of asking PTT and its affiliates to schedule their conferences and activities on the island to fill the empty rooms.

How welcome will PTT be on Samet?  Another idiotic idea from the Minister of Tourism and Sports.

On the promotion front, he has assigned TAT to help support operators to promote abroad at travel fairs including the JATA Travel Showcase 2013 in Tokyo from September 12-15 and also those in Moscow and China. All costs, except expenses for manning booths, will be borne by PTTGC.

If the Tourism Authority of Thailand had been honest and forthcoming from the beginning, this would not be necessary.

Face it.  There was an accident.  Oil spilled on Koh Samet.  Had the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Minister of Tourism and Sports provided daily, honest, updates, they would not be in damage control mode now.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Minister of Tourism and Sports are too busy letting the world know that the crisis in Egypt is not impacting tourism in Thailand.

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Categories:   TAT, Thailand