Bangkok, March 17, 2010, [PDN]: the government PR department reports that a 24-hour English language hotline centre, at 1672, has been in operation since the beginning of the Red Shirt protests on March 12, remaining operational until March 23 to help distressed tourists. However, it was stressed that the only location being affected by the anti-government demonstrations is Bangkok, with other regions remaining unaffected.
Reports from the main tourist venues in Bangkok, such as the Rattanakosin Island area, one of the main rally hot-spots, where the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha are located, indicate that the majority of foreign tourists in the area appear disinterested by the rallies going on around them.
Apparently unfazed by the potential affect of the Red Shirt protests on tourism, TAT remains adamant that their projection of 15 million tourist arrivals in 2010 is realistic. Accordingly, TAT is putting on special programmes for ASEAN tourists, especially family groups, from April to September 2010 in an effort to assure them that business is going on as normal, despite recent reports in the media that it was specifically these ASEAN and ASEAN-plus groups that were most concerned about the safety of their citizens during these troubled times. Hopefully, the remainder of the year will be more politically stable and TAT’s anticipated tourism growth of 15 percent among these ASEAN groups will be realised