Tourism operations largely unaffected by Thai coup

TAT provides list of information and assistance numbers

Transport and tourism-related businesses in Thailand are still operating as usual with no obstructions, despite the coup and curfew declared by the Thai army, TTG Asia reports. Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said this morning he had received royal endorsement to lead the country and declared himself acting prime minister.

As previously reported, the Royal Thai Army imposed a nationwide curfew between 22.00 and 05.00 as well as a ban on public gatherings of more than five people, with the rules applying to both locals and tourists alike.

However, exceptions are being granted for those travelling to and from the airport during curfew hours. Tourists are advised to keep passports and airline tickets with them.

It is “business as usual” for Asian Trails, which is “operating all tours and transfers as scheduled”, according to CEO Laurent Kuenzle.

“We have informed all our clients in Thailand personally of the current situation,” he said. “We operated all transfers to all airports in the entire country without any problems including during curfew hours as the military allowed our transfer operations to go on as normal even during curfew hours.”

Speaking from the UK, Exotissimo Travel Group COO Hamish Keith added: “The view from the UK is quite calm and measured. The news has not been overly sensationalising events and presented this as a political development rather than a military event, and people here seem to understand there is no threat of risk for foreign travellers. All the tour operators and members of the public that I have spoken with […] are quite pragmatic and are not overly concerned at this point.”

All six airports under Airports of Thailand management, including Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, remain open and are operating as normal.

Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia have also confirmed operations of all scheduled incoming and outgoing flights, but strongly recommend passengers allocate at least three hours of travel time to the airport and stay updated with traffic news to avoid missing their flights.

At least one hotel has responded to the situation with promotions. Swissôtel Le Concorde Bangkok sent an email with details of a Curfew Rate valid until May 31, offering its classic room at 2,200 baht (US$68) for a night, with discounts for in-house services thrown in.

Internet and land and mobile phone communications are not affected. All attractions remain open but businesses and public services have adjusted operation hours to comply with the curfew. BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway and Airport Rail Link systems operate train services until 21.00, while major shopping malls in Bangkok are closing earlier, at 20.00. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has provided a list of information and assistance phone numbers here.

TTG Asia

[pictured: Wat Pho, Bangkok; courtesy TAT]