Bookings for resorts in Phuket have sunk to just 15 percent for June as the tourist industry across Thailand suffers the fall-out of the violent protests in Bangkok. The global coverage of the street battles has sent the country’s tourism industry into freefall, despite the destination remaining largely peaceful and few resorts outside the capital affected.
Violence in Bangkok has escalated with troops opening fire on rioting Red Shirt anti-government protestors, once again turning the Thai capital into a battlefield. On Friday, the so-called Red Shirts seized and vandalized several military vehicles, and set at least one truck on fire following the shooting of an influential anti-government general.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has rescinded advice advising against all but essential travel to Thailand. However, travellers are still urged to avoid Bangkok, with protestors still occupying swathes of the capital.
Despite warnings from the British FCO which is currently advising against all but essential travel to Bangkok, cheap flight site Skyscanner (www.Skyscanner.net) can report that tourists have so far not been dissuaded from flying to the Thai capital for their summer holidays.
Hundreds of tourists remain stranded in the basement of Bangkok airport as airlines struggle to clear the backlog caused by the ash cloud crisis. The recent spate of civil disturbances also makes it safer to remain in the airport rather than staying at local hotels.
Government officials from around the world have begun to advise against all but essential travel to Bangkok, following a spate of “terrorists” attacks on Thursday. As many as eighty commuters are feared injured following four explosions in the Silom business district.
Thursday’s explosions in Bangkok have bought weeks of simmering internal discontent to international attention. But with large parts of the country untouched by protests and local tourist chiefs urging visitors not to alter their plans, Chris O’Toole here examines how dangerous the country really is.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reaffirms that the government is duty bound to resolve the present situation.
Thailand’s tourism economy is expected to shrink 20 percent as violence in Bangkok deepens. Tourists continue to make a mass exodus from the capital as the death toll from the anti-government protests reaches 21, with further protests expected this week.
Authorities in Thailand have declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok and its surrounding provinces. However, despite persistent warnings from the Foreign Office, TAT and PATA continue to advise travellers the country is safe for visitors.
As the latest round of anti-government protests in Thailand enters the third day the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have been quick to quell unrest among travellers. However, the Foreign Office has warned British visitors to use “extreme caution” when on the streets of capital Bangkok.
The ten members of the Association of the South-eastern Asian Nations will officially launch their new consumer destination marketing campaign at ITB Berlin this week. The campaign – entitled South-east Asia: Feel the warmth - is designed to travellers to plan trips, estimate costs, check availability and book through a unique map-based trip planner.