As resort managers and marketing directores have told Phuketwan, Phuket’s plight is worse than after the 2004 tsunami. The tsunami was followed by a wave of international generosity that put tourists back on Phuket fast, and along the Andaman coast soon after. This will take longer. Phuket is going to suffer a lot of pain. Jobs will be lost, and so will investment.

The bargain hunters will come, because the rates will be attractive: they will have to be. Wolfgang Meusburger, a veteran of almost two decades at Patong's Holiday Inn, told Bloomberg: ''Something is broken and you hope that it can be mended, but this time, the damage is very great.''

And the pain will be more intense because, unlike the tsunami, the damage this time to Phuket's tourism industry was entirely avoidable.

Travel alerts, issued independently by 40 nations, simply failed to describe the situation accurately.

Laguna Phuket
Phuket was always safe. There was never any real danger.

The enduring tragedy is that the international diplomatic community has done as much damage on Phuket as the arsonists have done in Bangkok. There will be at least six months of suffering: jobs gone, increased crime, poverty and deaths.

via MediaWATCH: Phuket Safe, Rules Taiwan Travel Alert; Order Restored, Says PM; Phuket Reds Return; Phuket’s Pain, a Diplomatic Disaster – Phuket Wan.

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