Wed, May 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Martial law will not affect tourists: Thai tourist office

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The implementation of martial law throughout Thailand will not affect tourists, although visitors to the Southeast Asian country are advised to bypass protest zones, the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Taipei office said yesterday.

Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha announced yesterday morning that martial law — which took effect immediately — was necessary to restore peace and order to the country, while wire agency reports said that Thai soldiers had taken up positions in key parts of the country’s capital.

The authority said that martial law restricted all political rallies to certain locations, preventing them from spreading.

All shopping centers, banks, government agencies and tourist attractions in the capital are to continue operating as usual, along with the city’s metro system and airports, it added.

“Free independent travelers should avoid the Democracy Monument and the National Assembly building, around which the anti-government people, or ‘Yellow Shirts,’ gather. They should bypass the suburban areas west of Bangkok, in which pro-government supporters, or ‘Red Shirts,’ protest,” the authority said, adding that all visitors to the city should avoid going outside in the evening.

The Tourism Bureau has said that the national travel alert for Thailand remains “yellow,” which indicates that travelers should take care to ensure their personal safety and evaluate the necessity of their planned trip.

According to the Travel Agents Association, the number of tour groups bound for the “Land of Smiles” has dropped nearly 60 percent since the anti-government movement turned violent in January.

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