TAT prepared for crisis

The Tourism Authority of Thailand will use its crisis management centre to monitor impacts from Friday's court ruling on whether former premier Thaksin Shinawatra's 76 billion baht in frozen assets should be seized.

TAT governor Surapol Svetasreni said the agency would work with private tourism organisations to monitor the situation and issue information for foreign tourists for the entire day through the TAT's overseas offices and its website.

So far, 27 countries have issued travel advisories, suggesting their citizens be careful while visiting Thailand over the coming weekend.

The advisories reflect different levels of concern. China, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, and Macau have circulated the lightest advisories, simply asking people to be alert to the situation.

Some countries in Europe including France, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands, as well as the US and Japan, have raised advisory levels, warning their nationals to be careful.

The UK, Belgium, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Australia advise their citizens to stay away from the protest sites, the third degree of advisory measure. But no country has banned people from travelling to Thailand.Despite political tension, Mr Surapol said the TAT would continue with its plans, which include a tourism fair from tomorrow to Sunday. It is also inviting about 250 media representatives worldwide to visit Thailand next month.

Apichat Sankary, former president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, has pledged effective safety measures for tourists. "Scandinavians have continued their trips, mostly to Phuket and Krabi. They have less concern as they are quite familiar with Thai politics," he said.

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