Tourism heads react to Bangkok blockades

By Kevin Rozario |

Massive anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok have brought six major downtown areas and one government centre to a standstill, but Tourism Authority of Thailand chiefs say that it is “business as usual”.

 

According to TAT, during the course of today, the demonstrators have marched on some government agencies in different parts of the capital to call for civil disobedience in a bid to pressurise the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra government to step down.

 

In addition, two other anti-government demonstration groups are staging protests at Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue and the Government House, forcing widespread road closures.

 

Air travel in the country remains largely unaffected but, on its website, TAT has listed seven alternative locations to Bangkok for tourists who wish to avoid the city during this period of escalating, but so far mostly peaceful, street protests.

 

At 11.30am (ICT local time) TAT said: “It should be stressed that tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political demonstrations. Tourist attractions and activities in Bangkok and throughout the country are operating as normal, but tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather.”

 

MINIMAL AIR DISRUPTION

On air transportation, which has not been a target for protesters, TAT added: “All airports in Bangkok and throughout the country are open and operating as normal. However, passengers with flights departing from Suvarnabhumi (pictured, source: TAT) and Don Mueang airports are advised to allocate at least four hours prior to their scheduled flight departure time.”

 

The national carrier, Thai Airways International, has so far cancelled only two international flights (to Hong Kong yesterday, with passengers placed on alternative services to the city), but six domestic flights have been cancelled tomorrow and merged with existing services.

 

Airports of Thailand, which operates Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, is acting in close cooperation with TAT and Thai Airways. On travel to and from the airport, Rawewan Netarakavesana, General Manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, says: “We recommend the Airport Rail Link to connect with the BTS SkyTrain and MRT Metro as the most convenient mode of transport to and from Suvarnabhumi.

 

“Furthermore, we have a Passenger Facilitation Plan in place to help passengers travelling to and from the airport, including changing the route for shuttle bus services between Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.”

 

So far, over 40 countries have issued travel advisories related to the Bangkok protests according to Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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