Exclusive Interview : Tanes Petsuwan
โดย Punamporn Constable, Ramida Vijitphan
UK Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand
The message from TAT Director in the UK: what I want to say is “I’m very sorry.. and I just want to apologise to the tourists”.
From the General Manager of Thai airways in the UK point of view, we come to see Mr. Taness Petsuwan, Director of TAT London, if he would give us some different prospect of Thailand’s image after the airport closure.
amthai: I heard that the Thai cabinet are planning to spend up to 1 billions baht to cover the damage.
TAT: They should.
amthai: Do you think it will be that much?
TAT: For the cover of accommodations, I can’t say whether that would be enough or not. In fact, the impact of the damage is unpredictable.
amthai: Do you think people are going to come back to Thailand again?
TAT: I hope they will be back.
amthai: Can you compare this with the tsunami ?
TAT: We recovered from the tsunami and we will recover from this soon. In the past, Thai people and tourists helped each other in any crisis...but this time I don’t think Thailand will easily get any credits back sooner. I have been working very close to tourists and understand how they fell because I was a tourist sometimes. Do you think they enjoyed there free accommodation and having their holidays prolonged? One or two days should be fine. A week is too long...Yes it’s probably been two weeks already and everyone desperately needs to go home. However, I really hope people would come back again because I assert that Thai hospitality is one of the best in the world. We regret that this situation has happened but unfortunately it’s beyond our control.
amthai: So what about the political crisis effect, few minutes ago, I have interviewed the director of Thai airways. What’s your point of view on how this is going to affect the image of Thailand around the world?
TAT: I feel that people all over the world are watching the situation in Thailand on the 9th December in which it is the date that the MPs are going to elect a new Prime Minister in the parliament; of course, this is the procedure of a democratic state. We hope after that the situation will be back to normal soon. However the situation is now improving.
amthai: Have you had any phone enquiries from the English people here?
TAT: Yes, we have had many phone calls such as from tour operators, British tourists’ relatives. They need to know about the present situation they probably are worried about their relatives are left stranded in Thailand.
amthai: Do you know how many British are there left stranded?
TAT: About three to five thousands British People, but everything will be back to normal soon. When they found out that their flights were cancelled, then they complaint straight to the airline such as Thai airways, nevertheless, all I can say is “I’m so sorry” and in my opinion I think this is not very positive effect for the country, what I want to say is “I’m very sorry” and I just want to apologise to the tourists. I know lots of people have missed their flights. Their opportunities to do businesses or having a nice holidays, or travelers have missed their chance to say happy birthday and come back to their relatives. We have done everything that we can to take care of those tourists at the airport, we allowed them to go back to the hotel and stay for free, that’s the best we can do.