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Thailand flood warnings may be scaring away tourists

Thailand flood warnings may be scaring away tourists
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Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra spent Sunday visiting a boat operation in Bangkok aimed at helping to prevent the flooding from overtaking the capital. More than 1,000 vessels were out on the river with their engines turned on trying to propel the water into the Gulf of Thailand.

The premier says she is confident that central Thailand will not be affected. However, officials have not said the threat has passed completely.

The weekend has seen supermarket shelves emptied as people panic buy food items just in case Bangkok joins the 25 of Thailand’s 77 provinces that have already been badly hit.

Eugene Riordam said he was not apprehensive about his own home: “I’ve been kind of worried. I live in central Bangkok. I’m more concerned about the outlying provinces than Bangkok itself because it seems like everything here is pretty safe. But the way it’s been storming recently, I don’t really know what to think.”

Sebastian Garcia, a tourist from Spain, was fairly at ease: “I’m less concerned after speaking to relatives at home even though I know there’s more rain coming,” he said.

Most of the areas deluged by water are not popular with tourists, but authorities are anxious that the flood warnings may put foreigners off from travelling to Thailand – an industry that generates seven per cent of their GDP.

Nearly 300 lives have been lost in the flooding and the damage is estimated to be over two billion euros.