Tourism sector welcomes government move to lift emergency decree

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The Tourism Council of Thailand said today the lifting of the two-month state of emergency will reduce the negative affect on the country’s tourism industry only partially as the political situation is still unstable.

Council chairwoman Piyaman Tejapaibul said consideration to lift the emergency decree in tomorrow’s cabinet meeting is considered good for the tourism industry as business operators have demanded for such an action for some time.

Ms Piyamarn urged the government to not extend imposition of the security law, but instead, use other approaches to handle security issues to help protect the country’s tourism image and reduce problems regarding travel insurance.

However, she said lifting the emergency decree won’t entirely ease the problem, as the tourism sector will improve when politics is stable.

She expressed hope that the meeting of seven independent organisations today will result in the exit of the prolonged political crisis.

Ms Piyamarn said travel bookings for the second quarter remains quiet. Private companies are trying to maintain their existing clients and will launch pro-active strategies to restore tourists’ confidence once the political deadlock ends.

Yuthachai Soonthornrattnavate, president of the Association of Domestic Travel said that trade has been hit, resulting in the decrease in the numbers of travellers by 15 per cent year-on-year.

Mr Yutthachai said he wants the situation to return normal soon as the Thai New Year festival is approaching, as there are many long holidays in April and May.

Meanwhile, Santisuk Klongchaiya, commercial director of Thai AirAsia, said revoking the emergency decree will prompt the cancellation of travel warnings earlier issued by several countries, while Thailand will celebrate the upcoming Songkran festival.

Mr Santisuk said Thai AirAsia has been slightly hit by the imposition of the security law, with passenger loads dropping by 5 per cent.