, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Coup in Thailand: tour operators are not worried

Curfew from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am

Asia, Visiteurs, or Climats du monde try to be reassuring, after the army took up power in Thailand. For these specialists of the destination, this is a logical continuation of a 7 month long political crisis. Airports and tourist attractions are operating normally

Rédigé par Céline Eymery translated by Joséphine Foucher le Dimanche 25 Mai 2014

The Wat Arun in Bangkok © MasterLu -
The Wat Arun in Bangkok © MasterLu -
The military took power in Thailand announced the general Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Thursday, May 22, 2014.

The country has been undergoing a political crisis for 7 months and the martial law was declared earlier this week.

It remains in place. A nationwide curfew was also announced from 10 pm to 5 am, according to a statement issued by the tourism office of Thailand.

However, tour operators working on the destination are not worried.

"The words coup or martial law make us believe that the situation is serious. However, we must put this in its context, we are not in Africa. Thailand is a monarchy, and the environment is very different.

For months there has been protests, and yet no tourist trips have been altered," said Philippe Marquenet, commercial director of Visiteurs.

No cancellations

"This was somewhat expected," added Jean-Paul Chantraine, CEO of ASIA.

"The country is used to this because it has lived through 18 coups or attempts since the end of the absolute monarchy. Given this history, I would not say this is good news, but it is not bad news either, if the army manages to restore some order in the country.”

A sentiment shared by Christine Crispin, CEO of World Climates: "The army hopes that the country finds a solution to this political paralysis.

We are used to the situation since we’ve been programming on the destination for 21 years. Every 2 or 3 years, we face the same problem. But it should be emphasized that all the tourist attractions are open, and trips are running normally.”

The Tourism Office of Thailand also emphasizes that "all airports in Thailand remain open. Passengers can travel to and from airports even during the curfew," but they must carry a form of identification with them."

The Quai d' Orsay (see box) adds that it is recommended to "allow a reasonable time prior to departure due to traffic and possible controls."

While Jean-Paul Chantraine recognizes a decline in demand in the last few months for Thailand, the destination remains in the "positive" at the TO.

Climates of the World, Asia, or Visiteurs confirm that bookings continue, and no cancellation has been made to date.

Travel advice from the Quai d'Orsay

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated its advice for travelers:

"The Commander in Chief of the Army announced the seizure of power by the army, on May 22nd.

The situation is calm. A curfew has been imposed starting this evening between 10pm and 5am. It is strongly recommended to respect it.

For your safety, it is advisable to avoid in the coming days of attending protests and gatherings since serious incidents have already occurred.

The main gathering points and barricades to avoid in the capital are currently the following (active list):

• the Utthayan Avenue (formerly Avenue Aksa ) in Thawi Watthana district in the west of Bangkok;
• Ratchadamnoen Avenue from "Government House" (Prime Minister's office) to Fa Lilat bridge;
• neighborhood of Chaeng Wattana ("Government Complex")

As for heading to airports, it is recommended to allow a reasonable time before departure due to traffic and possible controls.”

SETO: Zoom on Thailand (Source: Security Information Service)

1 - News
The military took power on May 22, 2014. This military coup is subject to the imposition of a night curfew throughout the country effective on May 22 from 10 pm to 5 am local time.
The constitution was suspended, except the chapter about the monarchy. The Senate was maintained.

2 - Situation
- The army forces are still deployed in Bangkok.
The latest gathering points for protesters in Bangkok to date are still
* Anti-governmental: Ratchadamnoen Avenue (from Government House to Lilat Fa bridge) and around the government complex at Chaeng Wattana.
* Pro-government: Utthayan Road in western Bangkok.
But they should be removed in the coming hours.

- The situation is calm in the country. All tourist attractions remain open.

3 - Transport and traffic
- There are currently no reported disruptions at airports.

Thai airport authorities warned again that road access to airports Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang may be congested due to the deployment of army forces and the establishment of reinforced checkpoints.

Travelers going to or arriving from airports during the hours of curfew have to present identification papers and their travel documents (flight tickets specifies the Office of Tourism in Thailand…)

- Public transport (bus, subway and BTS) will keep functioning normally.

4 - Updated Travel Tips
Various Western governments including the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) have factually updated since May 22 their advice to travelers, without raising their alert level.
They recommended foreign travelers to respect the hours of the curfew and always carry their papers in case of control.

5 - In this context and in the state of information in its possession, SETO recommends its members to remain vigilant in monitoring the evolution of the situation in Bangkok in collaboration with their local TO and, when appropriate, to develop their programs depending on the situation there.

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