Thailand hammered by world travel warnings

PHUKET: Countries around the globe yesterday issued warnings to their citizens about traveling to Thailand – a country the Philippines said was lacking in “political maturity”.

The comment from President Gloria Arroyo’s spokesman, Anthony Golez, was prompted by the seizure of Suvarnabhumi Airport by protesters.

Asked to explain his comments, Golez said, “Our people have reached a high degree of political maturity whereby [they] respect due process and the rule of law.”

But Phuket remains normal, receiving all flights direct from overseas to Phuket International Airport, and receiving all domestic flights currently operating.

But the closing of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport has triggered a rash of warnings from China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Britain, the United States, Australia and Japan.

The US Embassy advised Americans to stay away from the PAD demonstrations, given the potential for violence and civil disobedience. “American citizens are [therefore] urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations,” it said.

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport seizure would damage investment and the tourism industry, US Ambassador Eric John said yesterday.

Shutting down the airport for even one day affected a lot of visitors. If the closure lasted for long, it would stop tourists from visiting Thailand, he said.

The US Embassy has cooperated with Thai authorities to help American visitors trapped inside the airport terminal, he added.

The Chinese Embassy warned on its website that Chinese citizens planning to visit Thailand should postpone their plans, while France’s foreign affairs ministry suggested that French travellers booked to fly through Bangkok make alternative arrangements.

The New Zealand foreign affairs ministry advised stranded travellers to stay with other tourists, remain close to information counters, and follow instructions issued by local authorities.

Similarly, Singapore said citizens without “a pressing need to travel” should postpone their trip.

Britain’s Foreign Office issued an updated travel advisory telling Britons to keep abreast of a “very uncertain” political situation.

The Japanese foreign ministry urged its nationals to be cautious. In an alert posted on the ministry’s website, it said people planning to visit or to stay in Thailand were advised to check flight information well beforehand.

– Nation/Gazette News Pool

Phuket News

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