Following a political announcement by Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who declared a state of emergency in Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok last week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is doing damage control with meeting planners.
Sundaravej declared a state of emergency in Bangkok on Sept. 2 after protesters surrounded his offices and clashed with his supporters. In response to the declaration, which bans political gatherings of more than five people, the Thai tourism authority has released a “situation update” urging meeting planners and attendees to keep the light green on planned events.
“The prohibition of public gatherings of more than five people in Bangkok is limited to political activities and acts which may lead to unrest,” reads the situation update. “The measure does not in any way apply to the organization of local and international corporate meetings, incentive events, conventions and exhibitions, or MICE. It is ‘business-as-usual’ for all MICE events hosted in Thailand.”
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok’s state of emergency is temporary and will likely be rescinded as soon as political protests wane. Until then, it points out, the state of emergency applies only to Bangkok and affects only select demonstration sites within the city. Meeting planners and attendees traveling elsewhere in the city, or visiting other parts of Thailand, will not be impacted, it says.
“There has been no significant disruption to life and business in the capital,” continues the situation update. “The vast majority of the city, including all the major tourist spots, shopping centers and riverside attractions, as well as all roads and public/private transport systems, is functioning normally. Bangkok’s city taxi and rail services are unaffected. All hotels and resorts in Bangkok and throughout Thailand are open for business as usual.”
The Tourism Authority of Thailand promises that the situation in and around Bangkok is being closely monitored by authorities, as well as travel agents and tour operators. For more information and continuing developments, travelers should visit www.tourismthailand.org.