Swedes Return To Thailand As Tsunami Memories Fade

Some 67,808 Swedish tourist arrivals in Thailand at Bangkok International Airport between January and March 2006 were welcomed to the Land of Smiles, an increase of 16.25 percent compared to the same period in 2005.
In the future it seems the numbers can only increase as several Swedish travel agencies are looking to attract more Swedes by putting distinations that were removed after the tsunami back in their catalogues.
One agency – “Fritidsresor” has already announced its plans to return to Khao Lak. The Swedish tour operator used to books the largest number of tourists to Khao Lak, but the area was removed from the operator’s destination list after the tsunami – as Khao Lak was the area where the highest number of Swedish tourists died when the disaster hit.
Fritidsresor first trip back is due in November.

Competition speeds up plans
Fritidsresor‘s plans reflect demand, as competitors Apollo are also due to begin a tour programme in the area.
Mats Dahlquist, marketing director for Apollo said: “There is an opportunity to start sending our tourists back this winter, but we are still hesitant. Many people lost relatives there. Yet at the same time, if we do not send tourists there it means that we will not be helping the villagers in that area earn a living. It is difficult to strike a balance.”

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