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After acknowledging that tourism has been greatly affected by the anti-government protests in a meeting with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports yesterday, Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed the government to woo foreign tourists with schemes such as developing new tourist attractions, developing existing tourist attractions and devising plans for administration of special tourism zones in historical attractions and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. She has also asked for one-stop service points in airports around the country to help incoming tourists. She assured the Ministry of Tourism and Sports that the budget will remain unaffected by the turmoil, and went on to say that the Ministry actually spent less funds in the last few months due to many events being cancelled.
At the end of the meeting the Minister for Tourism and Sports along with the caretaker Prime Minister told reporters that the tourist levels are still good this year despite the disruptions in Bangkok, and other than the capital most areas of the country were unaffected. However Mr. Somsak pointed out that many countries are suffering from a “shockwave effect” after the Thai government declared a state of emergency and many of them went on to advice their citizens not to travel to Thailand and he believes foreigners are scared to travel.
The loss to the industry should remain at a low level of nearly 2.2 million baht and could be recovered soon in this year Q3 and Q4 as the Ministry seeks new markets to redeem the loss. It is expected that the numbers of Asian tourists such as those from China, Japan and Russia could very easily rebound.
“The Ministry does not plan to change this year′s target. We are simply revising our marketing strategies”, stated Mr. Somsak, adding that he has suggested to Ms. Yingluck that Thailand needs to reinforce its laws enforcement and protection of foreign tourists in order to create trust among visitors.
Ms. Yingluck has advised the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to urgently discuss the matter with the police, Mr. Somsak said.
In the meantime the police have been instructed by the court to release core leader of the People’s Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State (PCAD), Mr. Sonthiiyarn Chuenruethai-naitham who was apprehended four days ago. The police also currently hold arrest warrants on other PCAD leaders such as Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, and many observers see Mr. Sonthiyarn′s arrest as the beginning of the authorities′ offensive move against the protest leadership. But today the Ratchada Criminal Court ruled that the police must release Mr. Sonthiyarn, claiming that the suspect has been fully cooperating with the police in their investigation.
“Therefore, it is beyond reasonable cause to detain the suspect any further,” the court statement read. Mr. Sonthiyarn told reporters that he had been taken good care of and was enjoying good health, however he went on to say that he would be taking legal action against the officers who raided his house after his arrest.
The People’s Democratic Reform Committee have issued this press release
All invited to show love for Thailand this Valentine’s;
PDRC providing legal assistance to citizens harassed by Yingluck
**PDRC to hold 3-day Thailand Love Fest**
(12 Feb. 2014) Spokesperson Akanat Promphan announced that the PDRC is organizing a 3-day “Thailand Love Fest” from 14 – 16 February 2014. The event will be held at all 4 stages, i.e., Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Asoke, and Lumpini, and a massive street-fair will line the roads linking these sites.
“As Valentine’s day this year coincides with Macha Bucha Day, we will start our 3-day event with a religious ceremony titled ‘Love and Merit: An Interfaith Dialogue,’ comprising Buddhist, Christian/Catholic, Islamic, and Sikh services. The festivities, fanfare, and musical performances to follow will enable the public to show their love and devotion for Thailand, and to also symbolically “break up” with Yingluck and Thaksin Shinawatra – if they haven’t done so already,” quipped Akanat. “We invite all members of the public to join our celebration.”
**CMPO continues to terrorize and harass citizens**
In light of the continued harassment of citizens by Yingluck’s cabinet members and CMPO (Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order), the PDRC has assembled a group of attorneys to provide legal assistance to those facing charges under the Emergency Decree and other politically-related legal threats.
“The PDRC is determined to continue our peaceful, non-violent, and unarmed demonstrations against Yingluck and the Thaksin regime,” stressed Akanat. “However, we refuse to let our supporters face discriminatory, unjust treatment by the state without help. This is why our lawyers are already contesting the deportation of rally speaker Satish Sehgal, the arrest of Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitham and the warrantless search of his residence, the disciplinary action against Commerce officials who visited Pathumwan stage, and CMPO intimidation of the several celebrities who have performed at or dropped by rally sites.”
Questioned Akanat: “When will Yingluck’s government start to seriously investigate the continuous murders and bombings of innocent citizens instead of harassing individuals exercising their constitutional right to peacefully express their political views?”