Th number of visitors to Koh Samui is down 40-50 per cent, especially foreigners, for the first six months of the year, compared to the same period last year, Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association, Senee Phuwasetthavorn, said on Tuesday.
Mr Senee attributed the disappearance of tourists from the resort island to the global economic recession, the political turmoil and the swine flu pandemic.
Phanu Worramith, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Surat Thani office, took the same tone.
He said the global recession, the swine flu outbreak, the Songkran riots and the seizure of Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports late lastyear had all combined reduced number of foreigners visiting Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan by about 50 per cent.
The tourist sector was was suffering severely, he said.
However, Mr Phanu was optimistic the situation would improve in the second half of the year as the world’s economic indicators showed encouraging signs of improvement.
The TAT had joined forces with hoteliers and restaurant operators to launch an “Amazing Grand Sale” campaign offering a package tour to Koh Samui with a room rate reduction by as much as 50 per cent.
A special hotel room rate was also offered for Thai tourists to encourage them to visit the resort island instead of travelling abroad.