Thai coup impact minimal

The travel trade in Thailand and the Middle East have claimed that last month’s military coup d’etat in the Thai capital Bangkok did little to impede inbound tourism.

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By  Gemma Greenwood Published  October 5, 2006

The travel trade in Thailand and the Middle East have claimed that last month’s military coup d’etat in the Thai capital Bangkok did little to impede inbound tourism. Both Emirates Holidays and Etihad Holidays told ATN there were no cancellations in response to news of the country’s political instability and that despite Emirates Airlines temporarily canceling its Dubai-Bangkok service, within 24 hours, flights were running according to schedule. “We were lucky because at this time of year, we have very few customers staying in Bangkok anyway. It’s a quiet time of year; it’s good it didn’t happen one month before (August),” said Julia Denny, planning and purchasing manager, Etihad Holidays. “We are not asking passengers to cancel, but if they want to, we will assess each case individually, but we haven’t had any cancellations yet.” She said Etihad Holidays’ Bangkok-based DMC, Pacific World, would liaise and keep in touch with passengers already in Thailand to ensure they were safe and well. Pacific World’s director of leisure travel, Norman Allin, who has experienced four coups since living in Thailand, predicted there would be no long-term impact on inbound tourism. “In the past there has been a short-term reaction, but when people see the situation is stable, things return to normal,” he said. At time of press, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) assured the global travel trade that the situation in Thailand was “calm and non-violent” and that news coverage of tanks and military personnel were “not representative of the main parts of Bangkok”. Speaking immediately following the coup, Andrew Wood, a councillor at the International Association of Travel and Tourism professionals, and the general manager of Chaophya Park Hotel & Resorts, said: “Tourists will still be on the beach, visiting temples and tourist attractions, playing golf, eating and drinking as normal.” But he conceded that occupancies at his hotel group had slumped from 74% to 51% because government banqueting functions had been postponed or cancelled.

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