Only superficial disruption has been caused to the Thailand tourism industry, as most residents and visitors were unaffected. Meanwhile the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) provides up-to-date information to media and traders and reaffirms trade shows and events for travelers as earlier scheduled.
Thailand’s government handled the political chaos in Thailand, from April 10 to 14, with a step-by-step response that quickly restored order while dispersing the UDD protestors without consequential violence.
TAT deputy governor for marketing communications Juthaporn Rerngronasa said: “Currently, the situation in Bangkok and Pattaya is back to normal and all attractions, transportations, and services are operating as usual. Travelers will be able to obtain tourism updates from [the] Thailand Tourism Update site http://tourismthailand.org/thailandtourismupdate/ . The authority also handles travelers’ inquiries on travel community websites by providing them all true and up-to-date information.”
Stephen Cleary, a journalist based in Thailand, reported that tourists outside of Bangkok, such as those in Phuket and Chiang Mai, were mainly indifferent to any problems occurring. Cleary also remarked: “The protesters have been cleared away without any real threat to the safety of tourists and expatriates in the country. Even during recent tensions, tourists have generally been unaffected.”
Mr. Sangdo Lee, owner of http://www.hotelthailand.com (one of the biggest online travel agents in Thailand), discussed tourists’ informed decisions to maintain their travel plans: “Currently, travelers who postponed their trips have now confirmed as earlier booked. Whereas, free independent travelers who booked their trips online, mostly did not panic as they updated themselves through all different channels. However, other destinations in Thailand are not affected with the number of tourists visiting except Bangkok and Pattaya, which have been affected very less at about 3 percent.”
Moreover, a TAT deputy governor confirms that some of the trade-show and road-show activities will still be held as earlier planned, including Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in May; Asia Luxury Travel Market (ALTM) in June; Indian International Travel Mart (IITM) in July; and Amazing Thailand Road Show in Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia in April, May, and August, respectively. Furthermore, upcoming events for travelers that were scheduled in the near future will be held as usual. The events include Thailand Golf Travel Mart in May, Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2009 in June, and Amazing Thailand Grand Sale in June – August 2009.
Interviews taken from tourists in Pattaya, Bangkok, and Phuket discuss the minimal impact on their trip caused by the political chaos:
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