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Five more countries have issued warnings about travelling to certain areas in Thailand taking the total from 23 to 28.
TAT board chairperson Miss Pensuda Prai-aram said that the five new countries are Russia, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland and Hong Kong, but it important to remember that the warnings are only at level 2, which means citizens are only advised to avoid going to areas where protests are being held.
She said the TAT has also assessed three assumptions regarding the protests.
However the second assumption was that if warning of these countries are raised to Level 5 or prohibiting their citizens to visit Thailand, then tourist arrivals this month will decline instantly by 8-10% with growth of just 7% or 25.5 million tourists, a drop of 650,000 tourists from the projected 13% growth and the expected loss 25 billion baht in revenue.
Thailand’s education minister has said that he does not believe that a coup is imminent. Chaturon Chaiseng describes the situation with the anti government protestors as “pretty serious” and the aims of the protestors, to overthrow the government as “unconstitutional”. He said “so far the army does not appear to be backing the protestors, a move need for a coup to take place”.
Yesterday the protestors, who want the government to step down, targeted a complex of government offices outside the city. One of the leaders of the protest said they wanted to shut down government ministries in a bid to cause disruption. They accuse the government of being controlled by the prime ministers brother Thaksin Shinawatra.
UN Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon says he is concerned about “rising political tensions” in the Thai capital. “The secretary general calls on all sides to exercise the utmost restraint, refrain from the use of violence and to show full respect for the rule of the law and human rights” said his spokesman.
But he said: “The fact that some people do not believe in the government or the coalition parties anymore doesn’t mean they can either overthrow the government or change the system.”
On the question of Thaksin Shinawatra – the divisive former prime minister – Mr Chaturon said the governing Pheu Thai party faced a dilemma.
“The party will need to find some balance in this,” said Mr Chaturon, a former leader of Thaksin Shinawatra’s party and a former deputy prime minister.
“They will need to make it clear that whoever is going to be prime minister can show that they have independence and can make a decision on their own.”
He said the current Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is “trying to work very hard to show independence from her brother”.
And although he said he thought a coup unlikely, he qualified it by saying “in my experience a coup can take place any time”.