Chinese cancelling Phuket hotel bookings after Phoenix boat sinking

Thai tourism authorities, the Transport Ministry and Phuket hotel operators are worried after thousands of Chinese tourists have cancelled their Phuket hotel bookings after last week’s Phoenix boat sinking.

So far, around 10 to 15 percent of all Phuket hotel bookings by Chinese tourists have been cancelled in the wake of the Phoenix disaster.

This is due to Chinese tourists apparently losing confidence in public safety in Thailand after 47 Chinese tourists were drowned when the Phoenix capsized after its captain ignored severe weather warnings and took the boat out into open seas. The boat capsized and sank when it could not handle the enormous waves. 46 other Chinese survived the boat accident.

And, while hotel cancellations by faint-hearted tourists is usually to be expected when an accident like this occurs anywhere in the world, Phuket hotel operators say the number is even worse than they expected.

So worried is the Transport Ministry about Thailand’s reputation among tourists from China, it was announced today that Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit has ordered Phuket safety measures to be improved, and for more severe penalties to go into operation for any tour boat operators or boat captains that ignore safety warnings in the future.

Interestingly, however, it is not a Thai-owned company that owns the Phoenix.

Instead, the boat is illegally owned by a Chinese businessman through a Thai nominee. The businessman is said to be one of those that also owned the Tha Li company. A company Thai authorities had already shut down for operating illegal package tours for Chinese tourists.

So, maybe the Chinese should be blaming their own, and not Thailand for the Phoenix boat sinking?