The Tourism Authority of Thailand issued the following information as of March 14, 2010, 1400 hours Bangkok time on the political development in Thailand relative the anti-government rallies as announced by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) that are being staged from March 12–14, 2010.
The protest has been peaceful. The rally on Sunday, March 14, is limited to the protest site at Ratchadamnoen Nok and Ratchadamnoen Klang and is expected to remain peaceful.
Life in Bangkok and all other areas of Thailand continues as normal. Tourism attractions around the city of Bangkok and in all key destinations around Thailand are not at all affected. Department stores and shopping malls in Bangkok and around Thailand are open and are operating as normal. Tourism activities in all other areas of Bangkok and around Thailand continue as usual.
Suvarnabhumi Airport and all other international and domestic airports around Thailand are open and operating as normal.
Given the large number of people expected to attend such rallies, on March 9, 2010, the Thai Cabinet approved the use of the Internal Security Act B.E. 2551 (2008) in the areas of Bangkok and certain districts of seven nearby provinces from March 11-23, 2010. These are:
AREAS OF BANGKOK:
– Nonthaburi Province
– Pathumthani Province
– Samut Sakhon Province
– Samut Prakan Province
– Nakhon Pathom Province
– Chachoengsao Province
– Ayutthaya Province
The decision to invoke the ISA is deemed necessary as a precautionary step to ensure law and order. The ISA enables security agencies – police, military, and civilian – to more effectively integrate their efforts and take measures provided for under the act and applicable laws to prevent and mitigate, as much as possible, undue disruption or impact on the safety of the general public.
The law does not prohibit nor obstruct peaceful demonstrations held within the bounds of the law. The Royal Thai government respects people’s constitutional right to peaceful assembly, while the security measures to be put in place would help ensure security and peaceful and orderly assembly of the demonstrators. Clear instructions have been given to all security agencies that officers exercise the utmost restraint, and should the situation escalate, that they take a graduated response – from light to heavy measures – in accordance with internationally-accepted practices, with due respect to human rights principles.
For tourists visiting the kingdom, it should be stressed that foreigners have not been targeted in the on-going political conflict. However, foreigners are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather.
Other than the areas under the ISA, travel to all other parts of the kingdom has not been affected. Tourism activities in all other areas continue as normal.
The TAT Hotline and Call Center – 1672 – provides 24-hour service. TAT recommends that foreign tourists and visitors to Thailand call 1672 for tourist assistance. In the event that further coordination or facilitation is needed, they will be directed to the nearest TAT Tourist Information Centre.
Thai Tourism Industry representatives are on stand-by to provide round-the-clock assistance to foreign tourists and visitors.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand Tourism Intelligence Unit and Crisis Communication Centre (TIC) serves as an operations center for state and private sector consultative meetings and joint-planning sessions and enables TAT and representatives from the Thai tourism industry to plan and execute rapid and orchestrated responses. From March 11 onwards, TIC will be staffed 24 hours a day. Representatives from Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Tourist Police, the Thai Hotels Association (THA), the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), and the General Insurance Association will also be on duty at the center.
HOTLINES & CALL CENTER NUMBERS
TAT Call Center – 1672
Tourist Police – 1155
Ministry of Tourism and Sports – 1414
General Insurance Association – 1356
Thai Airways International (THAI) – +66 (0) 2356-1111
AREAS TO BE AVOIDED
The following roads in Bangkok near the designated rally site at Ratchadamnoen Avenue is closed to traffic, and visitors and tourists are advised to avoid the following areas:
– Ratchadamnoen Nok
– Ratchadamnoen Klang
– Dinsor Road
– Uthong Nai Road
– Sri Ayutthaya Road
– Na Phra That Road
– Tanao Road
– Phra Sumen Road
For the latest updates, please visit www.TATnews.org .