Q&As: Thailand Political Developments, Jan 2014 (from TAT HQ)

Q: There have been news reports of a “Bangkok Shutdown” plan by anti-government demonstrators in January, should tourists cancel their trips planned during this month and the next?

There is no reason at all for tourists to cancel their trips to Bangkok in January. The anti-government demonstrators are targeting at mounting pressure on the government, and have promised not to disrupt the public’s daily life and infrastructure.

All city buses and vans, water-transport, BTS skytrain, MRT subway, Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link and the two Bangkok’s airports (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang) are open and operating as per normal.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is closely monitoring the situation, and would like to inform tourists and the tourism industry that all concerned public and private agencies will exercise utmost efforts to ensure tourist’s convenience should the mass demonstrations occur. 

Q: Is there any chance that Suvarnabhumi Airport will be closed by the demonstrators as occurred in late 2008?

At this time, both international airports in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang) and all other international and domestic airports throughout Thailand are open and operating as per normal.

The main anti-government demonstrator group has promised they will not disrupt public infrastructure, including the city buses and vans, water-transport, BTS skytrain, MRT subway, Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link and the two Bangkok’s airports (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang).

All concerned public and private agencies are closely monitoring the situation, and will be working to ensure that tourists are not affected by the planned mass demonstrations on 13 January 2014 should it occurs.

Q: Will airlines be cancelling or reducing flights to Bangkok? If so, which airlines?

According to Suvarnabhumi Airport, airlines currently operating through the airport have yet to cancel or reduce flights for the immediate and future periods. All fights are operating as per normal.

To facilitate air passengers should the massive demonstrations on 13 January occur, all concerned tourism-related public and private agencies are discussing ways to minimise the impact from the possible gridlock traffic.

Solutions have included organising air passengers in small groups for a check in at Airport Rail Link station in Makkasan, before taking the 15-minute express train to the airport to board the flight.

Q: Is there a possibility that the situation will turn violent as there had been a few clashes between protesters and the police in the past weeks? Will the military get involved to put an end to the situation?

While we cannot really comment on these questions, we can say that the demonstrations have been normal to peaceful, and have not affected tourist attractions and activities, most of the time.

We cannot comment on the military’s move either. However, we have been informed that during this week, starting tonight, there will be massive movements of troops (a total of 20 battalions) and heavy artillery and armaments into Bangkok in preparation for grand military parades to celebrate the Royal Thai Armed Forces Day on 18 January.

Also during this week, about eight battalions of troops will be rehearsed for the parades. The final rehearsal, involving 20 battalions and full military vehicles, tanks and artillery showcases, will be held on 10 January.

Q: If tourists already plan to visit Bangkok in January, is it safe and convenient to travel to Bangkok at this time due to the demonstrations? Will tourist attractions and activities be closed during the planned Bangkok Shutdown?

For tourists visiting the kingdom, it should be stressed that tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political demonstrations.

However, tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather.

All tourist attractions and activities are open and operating as per normal.

Q: Is it safe to travel to Bangkok and getting around in the city while the demonstrations take place?

Tourists can travel to Bangkok, and getting out and about in the city. Tourist attractions and activities in the Thai capital are open and operating as per normal. However, tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather.

Mass transit networks in Bangkok, including BMTA bus and van, BTS skytrain, MRT subway, Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link and city buses, as well as water-transport and taxi are operating as usual. 

Q: Where in Bangkok can tourists visit while the demonstration takes place?

All tourist attractions in Bangkok, such as, the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha on Na Phra Lan Road, Siam Paragon and CentralWorld Shopping Complexes on Rama I Road, parks, temples, historical sites and theme parks are open and operating as per normal.

Q: Is it safe for tourists to go to the demonstration areas for observation and taking photographs?

Tourists are advised to use common sense and avoid areas where the demonstration is taking place or where crowds may gather. This is because there may be traffic disruptions or delays, thus causing inconvenience.

Bangkok offers a wealth of tourist attractions and activities, and tourists can better enjoy their holiday times by not getting caught in traffic disruptions or delays, which may occur, near the demonstration sites or where crowds may gather.

For more information on tourist attractions and activities in Bangkok, call the Tourism Authority of Thailand Contact Centre 1672.

Tourists can keep up-to-date with the tourism situation in Thailand through Application Line: Amazing Thailand.

For live videos of various attractions in Thailand, tourists can visit download the Thai Live Cam mobile application available now in iOS and Android. See more at: HYPERLINK "http://livecam.tourismthailand.org/http://livecam.tourismthailand.org/

Other useful contact numbers:
Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Centre 1672
Thai Traffic Police Call Centre 1197
Thai Tourist Police Call Centre 1155
Bangkok Tourism Division Call Centre +66 (0) 2225 7612-4
Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (city bus service) Call Centre 1348
State Railway of Thailand Call Centre 1690
Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) Call Centre 1490
Airports of Thailand Call Centre 1722
Thai Airways International (THAI) Call Centre +66 (0) 2356 1111
Bangkok Airways Reservation Centre 1771
Nok Air Call Centre 1318
Thai AirAsia Call Centre +66 (0) 2515 9999

Q: In the case of any unfortunate events, such as, tourists are affected while travelling in Thailand, what assistance can tourists expect to receive from the Thai Government?

Thai authorities as well as the private sector are ready to provide assistance to tourists in the case of inconveniences. Tourists can seek assistance through the Hot Line numbers provided above.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is also providing an insurance policy for tourists visiting Thailand during 1 October, 2013 to 30 April, 2014. The policy covers liability of up to US$10,000 per person.

Q: Do people cancel their accommodation because of the demonstrations? If so: how many?

We understand from our industry friends both hoteliers and tour operators that there have been some cancellations for the immediate period.

The cancellation is expected to be minimal as Thailand is in a high tourist season and, as per the reason stated above, the demonstrations have not affected most tourist attractions and destinations in Bangkok and other parts of the country.


cr: Thailandfans Forum


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