The news follows the cruise liner Celebrity Constellation cancelling its scheduled stops in Phuket this past week.
The Celebrity Constellation, carrying some 2,449 passengers and a crew and ship staff of 1,000 on each visit, was to port in Phuket from 12:30pm to 9pm last Friday (Feb 14) and from 7am to 9pm on Tuesday (Feb 18).
“Yes, they didn’t come to Phuket, and of cause this affects the local economy, but there are other cruise ships coming to Phuket," Mr Wiwat told The Phuket News.
Mr Wiwat said the Constellation had been redirected to serve European tourists.
With the coronavirus outbreak showing little sign of slowing, cruise lines are abandoning Asia and sending their ships to different parts of the world. Some have even cancelled all trips in the region until the end of the year, reported The Telegraph.
“In the past week the two biggest cruise companies, Carnival Corporation (parent company of Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Seabourn) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, and part owner of Silversea), offered warnings about the impact that coronavirus could have on their financial performances,” the report added. (See story here.)
Mr Wiwat pointed out that five other cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in Phuket from Feb 21-29, with four of them to drop anchor in Patong Bay.
The Costa Fortuna, with a capacity of 3,470 guests and 1,025 crew and ship staff, is to arrive in Patong tomorrow and stay overnight (Feb 21-22), while the Genting Dream, with a capacity of 3,448 guests and 1,700 crew and ship staff on board, is to return next Tuesday (Feb 25).
Three ships are scheduled to arrive in Phuket on Feb 29: The Star Clipper with 170 guests and 72 crew and ship staff; the MSC Splendida with a capacity of 3,959 guests and 1,325 crew; and the Oceania Nautica, which has a capacity of 824 guests and 386 crew.
“I do not have the exact details of how many passengers and crew will be on board these ships now. I will will confirm that when I receive that information later,” Mr Wiwat said.
Mr Wiwat assured that all people disembarking cruise ships in Phuket are screened for signs of infection of the coronavirus.
“Even though some cruises stop in Singapore, do not worry about the virus coming here. Singapore has very good checks for suspected symptoms of the virus, and we check as well,” he said.
“Phuket health officials are working hard to prevent the virus from making its way to Phuket. They check all passengers every time on their arrival,” he added.
The cruise ship Genting Dream, a regular visitor to Phuket, arrived in Patong on Tuesday with 2,750 people on board, comprising 950 tourists and 1,800 crew and ship staff.
Officials reported that no people coming ashore were suspected of being infected with the virus.
The Genting Dream departed Phuket at 8pm Tuesday night.