Thai Cabinet declares a severe emergency


During a televised addressed at 18.00 hrs [6.00 pm] yesterday, 7 April 2010, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva informed the public of the Thai Cabinet’s decision to declare a severe emergency situation.

The Declaration of a Severe Emergency Situation covers areas of Bangkok and certain districts of five nearby provinces. These are: Nonthaburi province
The districts of Muang [Bangkok City], Bang Phli, Phra Pradang, Phra Samut Chedi, Bang Boh and Bang Sao Thong in Samut Prakan province
The districts of Thanyaburi, Lad Lumkaew, Sam Kok, Lam Luk Ka and Khlong Luang in Pathum Thani province
Phutthamonthon district in Nakhon Pathom province
The districts of Wang Noi, Bang Pa-in, Bang Sai and Lat Bua Luang in Ayutthaya province

Prime Minister Abhisit emphasised that the government’s aim is to restore normalcy and ensure the sanctity of the law, and all actions that will be taken will be in accordance with the law and international standards. The use of the Emergency Decree is intended to enable the Government to restore normalcy in the various areas in Bangkok. There is no intention of using the law to suppress or harm those who are innocent.

Travel to all other parts of the kingdom has not been affected. Tourism activities in all other areas continue as normal.

In a statement dated 7 April 2010, Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated that the measures taken under these regulations and directives do not affect the normal way of life of people or their activities, nor do they affect foreigners residing in or visiting Thailand.

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.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ 24-hour operation centre provides foreigners with further information. Please call +662-575-1023, +662-981-7225, +66-88-022-1540 or +66-88-022-1541.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) met with trade association representatives from the Thai travel and tourism industry during a consultative meeting on the morning of 7 April to assess the impact on the Thai tourism industry of the ongoing anti-government rallies being staged by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)/’Red Shirt’ movement.

Participants represented the following organizations: The Federation of Thai Tourism Association (FETTA)
The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT)
Association of Domestic Travel (ADT)
Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA)
Association of Thai Tour Operators (ATTO)
Professional Tourist Guide Association (PGA)
Thai Ecotourism & Adventure Travel Association (TEATA)
Thai Hotels Association (THA)
Thai Tourism Promotion Association (TTPA)
Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA)
Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)
Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA)

Thailand’s travel and tourism industry leaders, consisting of representatives from TAT and 12 other organizations, all agree that while the UDD rally at Ratchaprasong intersection, Bangkok’s main shopping district, has had a significant economic impact on department stores, shopping malls, retail outlets, hotels and other businesses in the immediate area, as well as Thailand’s tourism operators, the UDD political activities are limited to the following demonstration sites in Bangkok at: Ratchadamnoen Avenue (Sapan Panfah/Panfah bridge)
Makkawan Rangsan Bridge near Government House
Ratchaprasong intersection

Tourism activities in all other areas of Bangkok and travel to all other parts of the kingdom have not been affected.

Both city airports (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang) are operating as normal.
All other international and domestic airports in Thailand remain fully operational.

Spas, golf courses, fitness and recreational centres, and other tourism attractions in all other areas of Bangkok and in key destinations around Thailand are not at all affected and remain open for business.

Temple and palace tours around Rattanakosin Island (Koh Rattanakosin) –
the site of the ancient capital and historic heart of Bangkok – have not been in anyway affected by the UDD/’Red Shirt’ protest on Ratchadamnoen Avenue around Panfah Bridge and Makkawan Rangsan Bridge where rallies are being held.

Expressway access enables tour operators, as well as tourists and visitors to Thailand, to by-pass all UDD rally sites in Bangkok. Chao Phraya River ferries provide a fast, convenient and scenic travel option taking visitors right to the doorstep of historical sites along the Chao Phraya River – the River of Kings.

Visitors and tourists are advised to avoid areas near the UDD rally sites.
The following roads in Bangkok near the Ratchaprasong rally site are closed to traffic. Rama I Road Outbound from Chaloem Phao intersection where Henri Dunant Road meets Rama I Road to Ratchaprasong intersection
Rama I Road Outbound from Ratchaprasong intersection to Pratunam intersection
Ploenchit Road Inbound from Chidlom intersection to Ratchaprasong intersection

For security reasons, the following department stores and shopping malls around Ratchaprasong intersection and Siam Square remain closed today – CentralWorld, Zen, Big C Rajdamri Superstore, Gaysorn Plaza, Amarin Plaza, Siam Center & Siam Discovery Center and Siam Paragon. DEPARTMENT STORES, SHOPPING MALLS AND WEEKEND MARKETS IN ALL OTHER AREAS OF BANGKOK ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL.

To avoid traffic congestion, it is best to travel by BTS Skytrain or the MRT
(Bangkok Subway).

MICE venues in all other areas of Bangkok and around Thailand are also operating as normal.
Thailand will be hosting the Songkran Thai New Year celebrations during April 6 – 18; the Thailand Open Chess Championship 2010 (April 14 – 20) in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Cha-am; the Bangkok International Gift Fair and Bangkok International Houseware Fair 2010 (April 20 – 25) at BITEC – the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Bangna; and Southeast Asia Golf (April 30 – May 2) at the Bangkok Convention Centre at Centara Grand CentralWorld.

In a separate development in response to recommendations proposed by the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, four of Thailand’s former Prime Ministers will be conferring after the Songkran holidays in an effort to resolve the political impasse.

Thai Tourism Industry representatives are on stand-by to provide assistance to foreign tourists and visitors. The Tourism Authority of Thailand Tourism Intelligence Unit and Crisis Communication Centre (TIC) serves as an operations centre 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. The TIC currently operates from 08.30 – 21.00 hrs [8.30 am to 9.00 pm] daily. 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 centre.

TAT recommends that foreign tourists and visitors to Thailand call the 24-hour Tourist Police Hotline — 1155 — for the latest updates on traffic conditions and roads to avoid.

The TAT Hotline and Call Centre — 1672 — operates from 08.30 – 20.00 hrs [8.30 am to 8.00 pm] daily. 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.