Thai trade cautiously celebrates end of emergency

TRAVEL specialists have welcomed the termination of the state of emergency in Thailand, but remain unsure as to whether this will enable them to claw back business lost during the months-long political crisis (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 24, 2014).

Willem Niemeijer, CEO of Khiri Travel Group, told TTG Asia e-Daily: “It will be good if it leads to the lifting of negative travel advisories.”

“It would be better if the state of emergency would be lifted without conditions, such as the Internal Security Act (which the caretaker government has implemented in Bangkok and surrounding provinces from today). The confidence of Thailand on the whole can only improve over time, with sustained peace and the political process not taking place on the streets.”

The move by Thailand’s caretaker government should provide a shot in the arm for the MICE sector that had suffered a raft of cancellations, according to Max Jantasuwan, managing director of Events Travel Asia.

“We want to see business and the political situation return to normalcy,” he said. “(Lifting the state of emergency) will help a lot with event clients that are still deciding whether they should risk coming to Thailand or not…especially (for) shorthaul MICE groups from Asia who work on very short lead times.”

In an official statement, Thawatchai Arunyik, governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, said: “(The lifting of the state of emergency) is a sign that things are fast returning to normal in Bangkok and visitors can look forward to travelling round the Thai capital with ease, as well as to the provinces for next month’s Songkran festival.”

The caretaker Cabinet yesterday resolved not to renew the 60-day emergency decree which was deployed on January 22 to tackle increasingly violent anti-government rallies, which have now disbanded.

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