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Monday, January 6, 2014

Tour Agencies Urged to Adjust Their Programs Following an Announcement on a Mass Rally in Bangkok

14290029pTour operators will be urged to adjust their programs in Bangkok for tourists after the anti-government protesters’ announcement of a mass rally in the city planned for 13 January 2014.

The Secretary General of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, has called for the mass rally as a way to show civil disobedience.

Mr. Suthep explained that the mass rally, which would turn a number of Bangkok roads into walking streets, is meant show to the world community the failure of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration to administer the country. He said that public transport, such as buses, electric trains for commuters – the “skytrain” and the subway – and airplanes would not be affected by the mass rally on 13 January. A spare lane would be arranged on all roads for ambulances in case of emergency.

The anti-government protesters have demanded that political reform be carried out before the next general election. The planned mass rally will be the fourth called by PDRC in a bid to overthrow the Government and return power to the people for the reform.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt expressed disagreement with the PDRC’s plan to occupy Bangkok, saying that it would constitute a violation of other people’s constitutional right to freedom of movement.
Meanwhile, the Association of Thai Travel Agents said that it would inform tour operators of the situation, especially those handling tour programs in Bangkok, so that they would adjust their travel routes. It said that tour operators might offer package tour programs for tourists during the period to other major tourism destinations, such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Samui Island in Surat Thani, and Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is anticipating tourist arrivals of 26.1 million in 2013. It expects that the number will increase to 28.01 million in 2014. Tourism revenue projections are for 1.1 trillion baht in 2013 and 1.33 trillion baht in 2014. The tourism-related organizations believe that if the ongoing political demonstrations take place in a limited area, they are unlikely to have a great impact on the tourism sector.

According to the tourism situation update, the current anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok have been normal and are taking place mainly at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue. Life in Bangkok and all other areas of Thailand continues as usual.

Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports in Bangkok, as well as other local and international airports throughout the country, are open. They are also operating as usual.
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