The Pacific Asia Travel Association headquarters, in Bangkok, will remain closed until at least Wednesday, according to an announcement, over the weekend, by the association’s public relations unit.
Late Sunday night, the government declared a two-day holiday in the hope it would keep office workers away from downtown Bangkok and Ratchaprasong district, where about 5,000 protesters are encamped.
Red shirts have been rallying for nearly two months in a district crammed with five-star hotels and department stores, but they have control of a much wider area on two important city roads that cross the heart of the city and include office blocks where many of the city’s travel companies, embassies and airlines are located.
PATA’s director of communications, Dale Lawrence said: “The situation in the city centre has deteriorated further during the course of the weekend. All tourists and business travellers in Thailand are advised to take firm note of travel advisories issued by their respective embassies and consulates.”
Thai vacation spots outside Bangkok remain safe and peaceful. PATA had been urged to relay such a message, but without success.
“PATA has many more destinations besides Thailand”. This response was given to eTN by PATA CEO Greg Duffel when asked about his comments on the current situation in Thailand.
PATA is one of a few prestigious international organisations that re-located to Bangkok, establishing its head office some 12 years back, after almost 48 years in San Francisco.
It was not possible to confirm when the PATA office would reopen.
Coincidence or not, shortly after eTN published this article PATA issued the following release about its position in Thailand’s crisis.
Here is the official PATA release, 17 May 2010, Bangkok: Senior officers and staff of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) met today at the Shangri-La hotel, Bangkok in the midst of the prevailing political instability in the city.
By going ahead with the scheduled meeting PATA demonstrated its faith in the
inherent peaceable nature of the Thai people as well as its confidence that the
country will eventually bounce back to its natural tourism potential, stated
PATA CEO Greg Duffell.
Said Hiran Cooray, PATA’s newly elected chairman: “These are sad times for
Thailand however, there is no country that does not go through its share of
strife at given moments. We are aware that some countries have currently issued
travel advisories nonetheless, we are confident that tourism in Thailand will
not be affected long-term. We are here today as a measure of that confidence and
to demonstrate our solidarity as PATA to the Thai people and the global travel
and tourism industry at large.”
Issued by, and on behalf of, PATA CEO Greg Duffell and Chairman Hiran Cooray