Thai authorities have criticised the Australian Government for warning travellers to stay away from Phuket and Krabi, where thousands of people died in the Boxing Day tsunami.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand says revenue losses have surpassed 30 billion baht (about $1 billion), saying that many travellers are too scared to return to these areas despite a fast recovery.
Speaking at a travel conference in Phuket, the president of Thai Airways International, Kanok Abhiradee, said the region was “cleaned up and ready for tourists” on December 27, but this message was slow to get out.
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Asked if Australia was wrong to maintain its travel warning, Mr Abhiradee told the audience: “Obviously there is a lot of parental concern from the Australian Government. I would not say it was wrong but I will say the Australian Government is very parental when it comes to its citizens.”
The conference was told a tsunami early warning system, including emergency text messaging and marine monitoring, would be in place by the end of the month.