Tourism outlook positive after lifting of emergency rule

PHUKET: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has pledged to ensure peace and normalcy by relying on relevant laws following the lifting of emergency rule in Greater Bangkok yesterday.

“It is the duty of my government to keep the peace, and I pledge to allay public concerns about security by invoking relevant laws without taking any extra measures,” he said.

PM Abhisit said the cancellation of the state of emergency was a clear signal to the world that normality had been restored.

Emergency measures and related mechanisms would end immediately, including detention of suspects under the emergency mandate. Legal proceedings imposed under emergency rule will revert to normal procedures under the Criminal Code, PM Abhisit said.

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The Phuket tourism industry is expected be one of the first gainers from the lifting of emergency rule, government and private-sector.

Phuket tourism has been slightly affected by the travel advisories with a number of Chinese and Japanese tourists cancelling their holidays in Phuket.

Weerasak Kowsurat, chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) board, agreed that tourist arrivals should pick up following the end of emergency powers imposed in Bangkok area by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on April 12.

Some foreign countries are expected to drop their travel warnings soon, which would encourage more foreign tourists to return to Thailand, he said.

The Thai Hotels Association expressed optimism that business would pick up soon, as political instability appeared to have lessened.

Thai-Japan Tourism Association president Anake Srishevachart said the lifting of emergency rule would undoubtedly restore confidence in Thailand among Japanese tourists.

Nandor von der Luehe, president of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand, said it would take more time to restore confidence among foreign investors, but he agreed lifting emergency rule was a step in the right direction that would send a positive signal to the international community.

Somkiat Anuras, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), said businessmen were delighted to learn the government was lifting emergency rule, as it had been detrimental to the country’s image.

“Foreign tourists should regain their confidence and return to Thailand. However, the government must be careful about handling new protests, as well as underground activities that could hurt the country,” he said.

Somkiat suggested the government also prepare other measures for dealing with protests and other untoward incidents, rather than imposing states of emergency.

TCC vice chairman Phongsak Assakul expressed concern about possible new rallies by the anti-government Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship.

— Piyanart Srivalo, The Nation

Phuket News

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