Mr Kongsak Kupongsakorn, president of the Southern Hoteliers’ Association, said 19 member hotels had already reported cancellations while another 160 hotels have yet to file their reports.
Thailand has recovered the last body after the accident killed dozens of Chinese tourists. The Phoenix was carrying 105 people – mostly Chinese – when it sank on the way back from a popular snorkelling spot on July 5.
Divers and the navy spent more than a week retrieving bodies, some from inside the boat, as outraged relatives waited for news.
The Phoenix was among three vessels which ignored a bad weather warning against day trips to the islands around Phuket.
Mr Chatchai Tipsunavee, permanent secretary at the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said a huge number of hotel room cancellations had been reported despite remedial measures taken by the Thai government after the accident.
At this stage, hotel room cancellations are said to account for 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the total business in the resort province.
Mr Chiaya Rapuepol, president of the Andaman Sea tourism business association, said the boat accident could cost as much as 42 billion baht (S$1.7 billion) in lost tourism and related revenues over the next two months. He urged the government to restore confidence in tourist safety as soon as possible to avoid even greater damage being caused to Phuket’s 350-billion-baht-a-year tourism industry.
Phuket Governor Napat Prodthong wants the government to set up a command centre to regulate all Andaman Sea tourist activities in the nearby Phang Nga province. This command centre could take responsibility for Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Phang Nga provinces, he said, adding that Phuket will have its own vessel command units at Ao Por, Ratchata Harbour and Ao Chalong Harbour, with closed-circuit and surveillance TV systems installed.
Last Saturday, Mr Woraluk Reukch-aikan, managing director of TC Blue Dream, owner of the Phoenix boat, surrendered.