There’s an interesting article on various news sites about the increase in deaths of foreign holidaymakers on the island of Phuket. Apparently, so far this year 52 tourists have died on the island, compared with 28 during the whole of 2009.
Does media hype affect tourism?
An example of lazy journalism
It’s the type of news that sells newspapers and attracts readers, but none of the articles go into any detail about the type of deaths on tourists, and they do not compare these deaths against the thousands of tourists who visit Phuket every year.
British tourists needing assistance
The Foreign, Commonwealth Office (FCO) highlights that between April 2009 and March 2010 most consular assistance was needed by Britons in Thailand (957 cases), higher than Cyprus, and many other popular destinations by British travellers.
Phuket travel advice
Stuart McDonald, of Travelfish gives this travel advice.
“I’m not trying to downplay this, but I think the same advice goes as for anywhere. Stay in control. If a life saver tells you to get out of the water because the sea is dangerous, and then do so (a recent drowning occurred after the woman ignored the advice of a life saver that the waters were dangerous).
Don’t take “new friends” back to your room at night. Don’t drive drunk or high. Be wary of strangers offering you deals that are too good to be true — they’re not true! Use your common sense and don’t forget to pack your brain.”
Media hype and tourism
Late last year I wrote a post about pickpocketing and mentioned that Barcelona was the worst place for it. I received a lot of criticism because I wasn’t painting a nice picture on the city, but, this is a blog, if it was the BBC or a national newspaper writing negative articles, would it affect tourism figures.
Your thoughts and opinions
Have you been to Phuket, and did you feel safe there? Do you think negative press affects tourism? Can you think of other examples where negative media attention has a direct effect on a tourist destination? I am interested to read your comments.