Bangkok tours resume, with cheaper deals offered
After a month's suspension, tours to Bangkok will resume on December 1 at cheaper prices.
On October 25, Hong Kong issued a red travel alert covering the Thai capital and 16 provinces, advising against going to flood-affected areas. Travel agencies agreed to halt all tours to the flood-hit areas.
But now, as the flooding subsides, the Thai government is trying to attract tourists back to the country, which has lost an estimated 100,000 travellers from all over the world over the past month.
'The flood is under control and water has drained into the sea,' said Areerak Achanan from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. 'Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Grand Palace are all free from floods now.'
Agencies are luring visitors with discounts. Hong Thai Travel Services has launched a 'buy two, get one free' deal for tours to Bangkok and Pattaya from December 1 to 15. A five-day tour normally costs HK$2,499, but the price per person will drop to HK$1,666 if three people join in.
Travel packages are one-third cheaper than last year, said Jason Wong Chun-tat, the agency's director and manager. A four-day package, which includes accommodation at the Peninsula Bangkok and return air fares, costs HK$2,769 to HK$3,069.
The number of Hong Thai tours to Thailand had halved and the number of tour members dropped by 5,000 since the end of October, Wong said. However, most customers whose Bangkok tours were cancelled opted to go to other destinations, including Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Only one in 10 demanded a refund, he said.
Wing On Travel has rolled out a HK$1,799 five-day tour covering Bangkok and Pattaya. If two people join the tour - running from December 1 to 15 - the price for the second person will be HK$899, assistant general manager Simon Ma Sai-man said.
To minimise health risks after the floods, tourists should stay away from raw food and drink boiled water, advised Leung Ka-sing, associate professor at Polytechnic University's department of applied biology and chemical technology.