Ratchaprasong businesses urge govt to scrap Emergency Decree


BANGKOK, Jan 30 – Business operators at Ratchaprasong, one of the major protest sites in the Thai capital, have urged the government to revoke Emergency Decree imposed earlier this month to take care of the prolonged political demonstrations in the areas.

Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) president Chai Srivikorn on Thursday called on the government to consider revoking the Emergency Decree as it drives away foreign tourists, scaring them and saying that travel insurance normally does not cover damage caused by riots under an Emergency Decree.

He said the Ratchaprasong association members have asked protesters to bring a swift end to their rally since total credit card spending at the area has obviously declined, while up to Bt280 million generated daily has now plunged by 60 per cent.

Mr Chai also reported that the number of tourists travelling by BTS Skytrain to Ratchaprasong area has dropped from some 30,000 to only 20,000 people daily, while the hotel occupancy rate has dropped from 85-90 per cent to only 20 per cent since the first day of the Bangkok Shutdown operations.

Restaurant businesses in the area and people spending have declined by 60 per cent. The operators have tried hard to keep on hiring 30,000-40,000 employees but if protest is prolonged for more than two months, they might need to lay off their employees.

Mr Chai said the losses from possible disruptions during the snap poll on Feb 2 cannot be estimated as yet. He noted that the operators have tried to cut costs as much as possible, while coming up with new promotional campaigns as a result of the sales slowdown due mainly to political instability.  The Tourism Authority of Thailand will join with business operators in Ratchaprasong to launch a grand sale event in June, which is expected to boost people’s spending by 50-60 per cent.

RSTA is holding the “Ratchaprasong Chinese Festival” starting today through the end of February. The programme offers a wide range of sales promotions. More information can be found at www.heartofbangkok.com.