7TH TSUNAMI ANNIVERSARY Khao Lak's Fresh Start
A recent market survey by brand agency Quo Global has concluded that memories of the 2004 tsunami are no longer negatively affecting travel decisions to the Thai resort destination of Khao Lak.
Speaking to a cross section of tourists, residents and business owners in the 4th quarter of this year, the intelligence gathered critical data points.
Approximately 80% of survey respondents rated the event as having little to no effect on their immediate travel plans.
Surprisingly only 4% weighed in with a negative impression of visiting Khao Lak.
One often citied urban myth remains that domestic and Asian short haul visitors are largely deterred from the area given a legacy of 'ghosts'. In response to the question whether they would visit areas or destinations where natural disasters had occurred, 78% of Thais responded that this was not a barrier to travel plans.
Another key point of the report was the finding that knowledge about the tsunami ranked high with all groups, but given the extended time period after the event, that a negative perception overhang had sharply declined.
There is little doubt that the "BES" or big event syndrome can impact travel in a virtual flash in today's world of instant media. Take the recent Japanese tragedy or closer to home the Bangkok floods.
What is more dynamic remains a tighter rubber band effect on global tourism, shorter lead in booking periods and widespread volatility.
Today's memory span keeps getting shorter and shorter, given the deluge of daily breaking news items from near and far.
For Khao Lak and even in the bigger picture Phang Nga, maybe the tsunami storyline needs to be replaced with how can the destination compete in a sustainable way with its successful neighbor to the south – Phuket.
Perhaps the most revealing fact from the Quo research was that only 21% of domestic travelers considered the Khao Lak destination to provide value for money.
To view the results of the survey <link>http://www.quo-global.com/uploads/wysiwyg/documents/research/QUO-Research-KhaoLak.pdf*CLICK</link>