Thai travel returning to normal

Thai travel returning to normal

Governments around the world have begun to rescind warnings against travel to Thailand as the political situation in the country calms.

Tourists have been urged to bypass the Asian destination for the past month, following the violent culmination of Red Shirt protests in the capital Bangkok.

Some 88 protestors were killed during the May demonstrations, with nearly 2,000 injured.

However, the situation, while remaining tense, has calmed following government intervention.

Leading the way, the Untied States State Department has lifted its travel warning saying safety has improved. Noting security forces have now withdrawn from the streets, American officials said “safety and security conditions had improved throughout the country”.

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Canada followed suit and lifted a warning against non-essential. However, visitors are still urged to “exercise a high degree of caution” if they choose to go.

The Foreign Affairs Department said in a statement: “Canadians should exercise caution, follow the advice of local authorities, and remain informed of developments by monitoring local media.”

In Britain, the Foreign Office has ceased to warn against travel to Bangkok, but still cites travel to Preah Vihear and the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla as potentially hazardous.

“Elsewhere in Thailand, the situation is generally calm following recent political and civil unrest,” added a statement.

“There have been no serious incidents of violence since May 21st.

“However, there remains a risk that political developments may lead to further violence.

“You should follow news reports and be alert to any developments which might trigger public protests or unrest.”

Land of Smiles

Authorities in Thailand have responded to the changing political situation with an aggressive tourism campaign.

“Major tourism destinations in provinces across the country are still pristine, peaceful and safe,” said a statement from the Thai ministry of tourism.

“Various measures have been implemented to return normalcy to the country and to assure foreign visitors that Thailand remains a quality and value for money destination.”

In a bid to boost visitor numbers, the ministry is issuing free travel insurance to foreign tourists and the waiver of tourist visa fees had been extended to March 31st next year.

The government estimates that the two months of political upheaval have cost the country’s tourism industry an estimated US$1.5 billion.