Tourism industry to be boosted after curfew lifted

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BANGKOK, June 14 — Senior executives in Thailand’s tourism industry expressed optimism Saturday that business which had been sluggish due to local political turmoil in the past would become more active again after the curfew was lifted yesterday.

The curfew, starting from 10pm to 5am and later eased to midnight to 4am, was imposed in almost every province in the country following the May 22 bloodless coup.

It was lifted by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Friday after finding that the overall situation in the country has almost returned to normal and with the aim to boost tourism business in the country.

Porntip Hirunkate, vice president of Tourism Council of Thailand, said she expected more Asian tourists, especially from Singapore and Hong Kong, to visit Thailand.

Ms Porntip said the kingdom could expect more tourists from Europe and the US from the next one to three months.

The lifting of the curfew is considered a blessing to only individual tourists or group tours, she said.

Martial law which is still being enforced in Thailand would pose a psychological effect to the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and  exhibitions) business sector.

Yuttachai Soonthornrattanavate, president of Association of Domestic Travel, said that the lifting of the curfew would help persuade more Thais to travel.

He proposed that further attractive incentives or discounts should be offered to local tourists after tourism within the country dropped more than 20 per cent in the past month due to political unrest.

Mr Yuttachai also asked more Thais to travel in the kingdom to show foreigners that it is safe to travel in Thailand and to also further boost the country’s image.