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Government organizing roadshows to restore confidence  Sep 18, 2008

Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports has dispatched a team of officials for a 'roadshow mission' in China to clarify the real political situation in the kingdom after the government lifted the State of Emergency decree in Bangkok on Sunday, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.

Mr Weerasak said the team of ministry officials would focus on three aspects including the lack of violence in the demonstrations, that the State of Emergency decree has been lifted and that there was no longer a blockade at any airport.

The decree, imposed by former prime minister Samak Sundaravej on September 2 following clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in Bangkok.

The aim of the mission was to give prospective Chinese tourists correct information and the understanding that Thailand is a safe place to visit now, just as it had been in the past, he said.

In addition, he said, the similar roadshows are expected to be held in Japan, Korea, India, Russia and varied European countries to help restore confidence among foreign tourists.

On Thursday, the ministry will also write an official letter to 26 embassies, all of which earlier issued warnings to their citizens to avoid visiting Thailand, to inform them of the current situation, said the minister.

In relation to the Thai Hotels Association's proposal concerning the "Visa on Arrival" project to be launched for worldwide tourists during October to December, Mr Weesarak stated he was open to the private sector's opinions, but that he would review the proposal's details and discuss them Thursday afternoon.

The ministry added that new tourism policies will focus more on high-end tourists who are more desirable visitors, and not emphasise quantity, as the former are more likely to create sustainable tourism and value for investment.

Mr Weerasak said he is confident that outbound tourism revenue will increase by five per cent from the total balance of 600 billion baht.

Regarding the domestic market, the income is expected to rise from five per cent from the equivalent returns of Bt380 billion.

Due to earlier skyrocketing oil prices, domestic market growth has declined from last year, during which it grew 10 per cent.

In order to support more Thai tourism, the ministry will negotiate with airlines and travel agencies, asking them to reduce airfares, as fuel costs have already declined.

Government organizing roadshows to restore confidence
Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat /

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