Still flooding to Thailand

07 December 2016 - 09:35 By SHELLEY SEID
FREE TO FLY: Tourists can now return to Phuket after a travel alert to Thailand was lifted
FREE TO FLY: Tourists can now return to Phuket after a travel alert to Thailand was lifted

Keep calm and visit Thailand, and forget the killer floods there.

That's what South African holiday-makers seem to be doing, despite the death of 14 people in severe storms that have battered the popular tourist destination since the start of the month.

The worst-affected area is southern Thailand, where 12 provinces have experienced floods.

The popular tourist islands of Koh Samui and Pha Ngan, in the Gulf of Thailand, have been declared disaster areas.

The floods have caused mudslides and power blackouts, closed railways and delayed flights at Koh Samui Airport.

John Ridler, a Thompson's Holidays spokesman, said that although the company was aware of the storm warnings for Thailand, South African tourists were undeterred and were pressing ahead with their travel plans.

"We have passengers departing daily and many of them will visit the islands. At present all flights and land transport arrangements are as normal."

He said the situation was constantly being monitored by the company's agents in Thailand.

Thompson's sends more than 10000 clients a year to Thailand.

Flight Centre's Lee-Ann Colling-ridge said she had not received any cancellations as a result of the Thai floods.

"South African travellers are incredibly resilient.

"We will continue to monitor the situation in Thailand and we are keeping customers abreast of any developments."

The Thai meteorological service says that heavy rains with flash floods will continue in the south of the country and that in some areas along the Gulf of Thailand there will be monsoons and strong winds generating waves of 2m to 4m.

December is the start of the cooler dry season in the Asian country and coincides with the peak of the tourism season.

A record 32.4million tourists are expected this year.

In 2011 Thailand experienced its worst flooding in 50 years with more than 800 people killed and most of the country's provinces declared flood-disaster areas.