Are people worried about events in Thailand after the Korean stampede?

PHOTO: Tourism experts worry about the Seoul stampede's effect on events in Thailand like Songkran, pictured. (via Pinterest)

Tourism officials and industry operators are nervously assessing what effect the Halloween stampede in South Korea may have on travellers’ confidence in upcoming events in Thailand. Operators in the tourism industry have asked police and other authorities to be ready for crowd-related incidents. But the vice-president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Suthiphong Phuenphiphop, says that he does not think the traveller sentiment will be affected by the tragedy in Korea.

Suthiphong expressed confidence that authorities in Thailand will be prepared for big events in the kingdom. Next week, locations around the country will celebrate Loy Krathong. Large crowds usually convene, especially in Chiang Mai for the connected Yi Peng Lantern Festival, and in Koh Pha Ngan where the Full Moon Party is celebrated at the same time.

The Songkran Festival celebrated in April usually brings massive crowds also, with hotspots like Khao San Road attracting upwards of 100,000 people.

Chatter on Thai social media has seen a rise in people worried about festivals and events being at risk of a repeat of the tragedy in Seoul. Across Korea, concerts and events have been cancelled. But in Thailand, Halloween events went ahead with promises of increased safety measures.

The Thai Hotel Association downplayed worries though, saying that hotel guests and other tourists were not expressing any apprehension about safety travelling within Thailand.

The Tourism Council vice president said that relevant agencies will be working together across the country and around Bangkok to make sure upcoming festivals run smoothly. For Loy Krathong, over 100,000 people are expected to join in the celebrations in Bangkok. Locations along the Chao Phraya River in particular will be coordinated and managed between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, and the Marine Department to ensure safety.

Suthiphong said that, compared to the stampede in Itaewon, the popular gathering spots in Thailand are much safer. The streets are wider, and the land is flatter, with more cross streets allowing crowds of people to disperse more easily. Precautions should still be taken though, he warned. Enclosed events should control the number of people by requiring event tickets, and exits should not be fenced off or locked.

EventsThailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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