Travel consultants Diane Young and Sonya Mackie are pleased that locals continue to support tsunami-affected areas
Travel consultants Diane Young and Sonya Mackie are pleased that locals continue to support tsunami-affected areas

Tweed tourists not deterred

By NADINE FISHER

THE destructive Boxing Day tsunami which hit popular tourist destinations in Thailand has failed to deter Tweed holidaymakers from heading into the devastated region.

Several Tweed travel agencies yesterday said many of their clients intended heading to places like Phuket for planned holidays in a show of support for the crippled tourism industry.

Despite the devastation and threat of disease outbreaks, for one Tweed travel agent who focuses on Thailand and Phuket, bookings hadn't been seriously affected.

Tweed City Travel senior consultant Diane Young said they had only one cancellation following the Boxing Day tsunami.

"A lot of people don't understand that there were a lot of parts of south-east Asia unaffected," Ms Young said.

"In fact, only five or six of the 30 to 40 main resorts in Phuket itself are closed.

"We have clients staying on in Phuket in other hotels at the moment who want to continue to support the area as a tourist destination.

"There are plenty of resorts that are fully operational."

Qantas has issued an update for travel agents, listing resorts on Phuket and neighbouring areas and islands which are open, ones which are closed and ones which are due to re-open later this month and later in the year.

Ms Young said some clients had deferred their travel plans but were still happy and determined to go to Phuket at a later date.

"Phuket is the major area affected by the tsunami from this agency," she said.

"I guess the possibility of disease is a factor that may put some people off, but on the whole, people are very supportive of the area."

Support for Thailand as a tourist destination for Australians remained strong.

Banora Travel World manager Barry Jones said they had not yet spoken to clients who had future holidays booked to the tsunami-affected areas.

?"We will discuss the options with these clients but at the moment I think people are waiting to see what happens," he said.

"I hope (Tweed) locals will continue to support the area (South East Asia) and we will be looking to steer people to Koh Samui, an emerging tourist destination on the opposite side of the peninsula to Phuket.

"Thailand is still a 'value-for-money' destination for Australians."

However, Travelscene Tweed Valley manager David Devine said they had no clients in the affected region when the tsunami hit because it was not an area they promoted.

n?WOULD you travel to South East Asia to show support for the local tourism?

Let us know by sending us a letter to Letters To The Editor, P.O.Box 6336, Tweed Heads South, 2486 or by email to subs@tweednews.com.au



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