Thailand ‘safe for tourists’
THAILAND’S travel and tourism facilities are working normally despite the coup, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) members in Thailand have said.
A state of emergency was declared when tanks and troops rolled into the streets of Bangkok last month, as the military took over the government.
Other reports have suggested that daily life continues as normal and that only late-night entertainment seems restricted.
An embassy official in Bahrain confirmed there was no unrest and said people were able to travel to and from Thailand safely and without difficulty.
The country is a popular destination for Bahrainis and expatriates, with thousands travelling there each year.
“The situation is calm. The airport services are as normal. We have received a number of phone calls from people in Bahrain asking if it is still safe to visit and we have told them it is. It maybe a little difficult to get around (in Bangkok) at night, but as far as we are concerned everything is under control and there is no need for any concern for tourists.”
Thailand participated at the recent MTF in Cairo because of renewed interest in the country, particularly from Egypt. “Exciting things have been happening in the market and we have seen a significant growth since the last year,” says Tourism Authority Thailand, Southern Europe, marketing and PR manager Patricia Cori.
The country is targeting at least 15 million visitors in 2007, she says. “We witnessed a 46 per cent rise in tourists from the Middle East till July.”
Thailand offers a wide array of tourism products. “Our beaches are rebuilt after the tsunami and they are as beautiful as ever. Our hotels have also be rebuilt or revamped after the disaster and they are bigger and better,” Cori says.
She told TTN that Thailand is very popular with honeymooners and there are so many agents selling Thailand for honeymoon and leisure. “There is also a lot of growing interest shown for Phuket and Samui. The green season or monsoon season is very popular with tourists from the Middle East and they enjoy the fresh air and greenery.
"We have also launched special programmes to get more tourists to north Thailand," she says. “Places like Chiang Mai are very beautiful. There is so much diversity of nature there. There is scope for eco tourism, adventure, elephant rides and river rafting. Also people can learn more about the Buddhist traditions and take part in many festivals and see Buddhist culture. We are also promoting health tourism and many spas are being promoted in the country.”
On the MICE front, she said, “Thailand also has a good infrastructure for business travel, specially for congresses and conferences.”