Private sector welcomes lifting of state of emergency

The lifting of the state of emergency, effective on Wednesday, is welcomed by the private sector with travel and tour businesses expressing optimism of the recovery in the business soon.

President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) Susdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said this would be good for the tourism business and was certain that business would be back to normal.

At the same time, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) immediately announced plans to spend 200 million baht to revive the tourism industry following the announced that the emergency decree will be revoked, effective Wednesday.

TTAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik said he has instructed directors of TAT offices abroad, and especially in Asia, to take steps to boost confidence among prospective tourists.

The main campaign will use the theme “Thailand: Best Friend Forever (BFF)”.

The campaign will be introduced by June, aiming to restore tourism during Bangkok’s rainy season. Key activities of the campaign are BFF mega familiarization trips, along with cooperation with the private sectors to offer special tour packages.

He also strongly believed Thailand is still a preferred destination as demand still remains

Meanwhile, caretaker Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak Phurisisak said the TAT would promote the Songkran water festival to be held beginning on April 13.

He intends to explain to foreign tourists that tradition would be upheld in all areas of Bangkok – although there have been growing complaints for many years that Songkran celebrations have abandoned virtually all cultural tradition.

He also believed tourist arrivals during Songkran might decline by more than 10% compared with last year, but he said the situation will improve gradually now that the emergency decree has ended.

Earlier Tourism Council of Thailand chairwoman Piyaman Tejapaibul welcomed the lifting of the two-month state of emergency though saying lifting the emergency decree won’t entirely ease the problem, as the tourism sector will improve when politics is stable. 

She expressed hope that the meeting of seven independent organizations  would  result in the exit of the prolonged political crisis.

Ms Piyamarn said travel bookings for the second quarter remains quiet. Private companies are trying to maintain their existing clients and will launch pro-active strategies to restore tourists’ confidence once the political deadlock ends.

Yuthachai Soonthornrattnavate, president of the Association of Domestic Travel said that trade has been hit, resulting in the decrease in the numbers of travelers by 15 per cent year-on-year.

Mr Yutthachai said he wants the situation to return normal soon as the Thai New Year festival is approaching, as there are many long holidays in April and May.