Smoke in Bangkok Begins to Clear

Despite the months of turmoil and devastation in Bangkok, it seems that dust may be settling. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva released a statement today assuring that the lawlessness has come to an end. The details are below:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have restored order in the capital of Bangkok and the provinces of Thailand. We have been able to do this with the cooperation of government officials, volunteers, and of course the people of Thailand. We will continue to move swiftly to restore normalcy and we recognize that as we move ahead there are huge challenges ahead of us, particularly the challenge of overcoming the divisions that have occurred in this country.

Let me assure you that the Government will meet those challenges and overcome these difficulties through the five-point reconciliation plan that I have previously announced. That plan is based on the principles of participation, democracy and justice. We will allow the due process of law to operate, and use our parliamentary democracy to resolve the problems with the participation of all groups of people. At the same time, that plan will include an independent investigation of all the events that have taken place during the protests, so you can be assured that this government has every intention to move the country forward, restore order, and make sure that our recovery is well on track and that we will do so in a transparent manner.

Thank you very much.

Travel Agent spoke to several agents who specialize in Asia travel to find out how the violence (that had been ongoing since March) affected business.

“I have had a couple of cancellations for travel [to Thailand] this week,” says Myrna Baumgartner, manager of Discovery Travel. “Passengers decided to reroute to Vietnam. The airlines are generally quite accommodating when an advisory has been issued for a destination.”

While the trouble was in full swing, the Thai government was clear to state that travel to parts outside of Bangkok, primarily the beach communities, was indeed safe. Baumgartner confirms this. “Travel to beach areas within Thailand in my opinion would still be a consideration for those wanting to travel,” she said. “Flights can be arranged to these areas as well as Chiang Mai without having to travel via Bangkok.”

But today is a new day and things are certainly looking up. Dennis Tan, the managing director of Abercrombie & Kent Thailand, released a report from Bangkok with a nice spin on a traffic jam. “On the way into the office (this morning) I found myself in the midst of a typical Monday morning Bangkok traffic jam!” Maybe not something to get excited about, but Tan continued. “Something I have not seen for the last two weeks. It seemed as if the entire city was on their way in for a first day at school. As many of my colleagues also mentioned to me, they had never seen so many eager faces on the morning commute, it was as if everyone was banding together to lift the morale of Bangkok and Thailand.”

Tan reports that around 6,000 Bangkok residents were working together yesterday in the city’s clean-up efforts.

“The picture of the city the last couple of days compared to what everyone saw in the news last week was a complete contrast,” says Tan. “Just last week, I strongly recommended people not travel to Bangkok. However, after the dispersal of the protesters and seeing the city the last few days, the city is again ready to receive and welcome visitors.”

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