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eTN Inbox: The closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport

Dec 03, 2008

My hotel has 400 rooms and employs close to 600 people. They support a large local group of suppliers who in turn provide jobs for more than 2000 people and their families.

My hotel is a centre for meetings and conferences and has a reputation for authentic food at affordable prices. It particularly appeals to Thai guests and diners. The hotel is a hub for many groups of people both international guests and Thai visitors. Our usual hotel occupancy is over 80 percent between September-December each year.

Tomorrow, my occupancy is 7 percent. There are no new bookings. All the remaining guests just want to get home and return to their families and businesses. Some of my guests are deciding to take a bus journey of some 20 hours to go south by bus to Malaysia. A grueling and uncomfortable journey. By closing the airport you have cut the lifeline of so many. With close to 250,000 international visitors now stranded in Thailand, they have to endure hardship and discomfort never before experienced in the modern history of Thailand's vital tourism industry.

I appeal to you, from one small hotel in a sea of many thousands of hotels, who rely so much on tourist arrivals from overseas, we need to re-open the airport now; we need to protect the livelihoods of the hotel staff and their families and the support teams that enable us to operate. Without guests we will soon have to ask our staff to take unpaid leave and try to batten down the hatches and cut costs. We can only do this for a matter of weeks before we have to take more severe action and let people go.

Whatever it is you now want please think about the effect you are having on your friends and neighbors and the country. The industry that means so much to so many is in serious trouble. The courts have given you what you asked for and for the protests that are ongoing at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports; please consider that your actions are having a devastating effect on Thailand's economy, not just today, but tomorrow and in the future.

Please carefully consider your actions, the people you are trying to influence, are not your neighbors and friends, but they are the ones that will in the end be the most effected by your actions. Please end the blockade now. The industry has been battered from demonstrations back in September until now and the world economies are not strong. We live in a very fragile world and we have to be careful lest we cause irreparable damage. Please allow the airports to re-open and let the lifeblood of Thailand's Tourism industry and businesses once again flow.

Don’t leave it too late…please.

Andrew J Wood
General Manager, Chaophya Park Hotel (Bangkok)

eTN Inbox:  The closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport
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