Piyaman Tejapaibul the president of the Tourism Council of Thailand as petitioned the ruling junta to lift the nightly curfew in tourist areas such as Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi and Pattay according to a report in the Phuket Gazette today.
Ms. Piyaman told the newspaper that she filed her request with the National Council for Pease and Order in a meeting yesterday. She went on to say that the NCOP accepted her proposal for consideration but was informed that the army must be sure about any changes they make before they take action. She hopes that the NCPO will lift the curfew as soon as possible.
“Tourism was hit hard before the coup due to long running street protests, although it is too early to tell how many cancellations there have been because of the coup, we have to admit that is affecting tourist confidence” she said.
More than 50 nations have issued travel warnings against all but essential travel to Thailand. Hong Kong have raised their warning to the top level and long haul tourist markets such as the UK, USA, Canada and Europe have postponed their trips.
Ms. Piyaman said the TCT supports the intervention by the military, and believes that it was better for them to step than to let the protests go on forever, as they have gone on for long enough. She believes that Thailand must regain tourist confidence and telling them exactly what is happening is a good way to do that. It is important for tourists to know where they can travel safely and that areas such as Samui and Phuket have not really seen any impact from the coup and everybody is going about their lives normally, other than the curfew that bans unsanctioned travel on the streets from 10pm until 5am.
Governor Maitri Inthusut has requested that Phuket is given a flexible curfew as it is a major tourist destination. While he did not receive a response to his request he was optimistic and said he thinks flexibility for tourist areas will happen soon. While news reports suggest that areas such as Patong in Phuket remain quiet in Samui it is hard to tell there is a curfew in place.
Although 7-11 stores are still closing for business at 10pm, other stores are staying open. Shopkeepers may keep their businesses open past 10pm as long as they do not go outside, noted Phuket Provincial Deputy Commander Peerayuth Karajedee.
“If you stay in your place, it’s fine. Noodle shops or boiled rice restaurants can stay open, as long as the staff stay at the shop after curfew,” he explained.
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