A Thai soldier on duty following the bomb blasts. Credit: Facebook/สามล้อกู้ภัย บรรเทาศูนย์สอง
THE United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have condemned the spate of bombings perpetrated on Thai soil last week.
A series of coordinated bomb attacks hit popular tourist spots such as Hua Hin and Phuket between August 11 to 12, leaving at least three dead and many more injured. The bombs struck during Thai Queen Sirikit’s birthday, a national holiday, and days prior to the first anniversary of Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine attack.
“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims, their friends and families,” stated WTTC’s president and CEO David Scowsill.
“Having spoken with Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul minister of tourism and sport from Thailand about the security steps being taken from the government, we are confident that the situation will stabilise and return to normal very quickly, as it has done after challenges in the past.”
He added: “Despite the bomb attack at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok in August 2015, Thailand’s visitors grew by 20 per cent last year to 30 million travellers and the money they spent grew by 25 per cent over the same period. The country will continue to be a key tourism destination for travellers.”
Unwavered by the incident, the two international tourism bodies are also going ahead with upcoming plans to hold key travel events in Thailand.
“Thailand is one of the most consolidated tourism destination in the world. A destination where people of all cultures unite and enjoy tourism and its strong potential to foster development. We are fully confident that this will continue to be the case and we look forward to meet in Bangkok on September 27 for the official World Tourism Day celebrations,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.
“More than ever we need to work together to make a great success out of the celebrations of World Tourism Day, this will be the best expression of support and union against these hideous acts.”
Concurring, Scowsill said: “We are looking forward to supporting Thailand on September 27 at the official World Tourism Day celebrations, and to holding the prestigious WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok in April 2017.
“It is important to remember that tourism is a force for good: it brings people from different cultures and backgrounds together, something that Thailand as a destination manifests beautifully.”