Natalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph, June 18, 2014
Thailand's tourism officials have welcomed the lifting of a nationwide curfew imposed following a military coup in May.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), formed during the coup, imposed the curfew to protestations from tourism officials.
The curfew, which kept both tourists and locals from the streets between midnight and 4am, affected hotel occupancy and businesses that depended on tourism, especially in Bangkok.
It was lifted gradually in the most popular beach resorts but remained in the capital and the northern city of Chiang Mai, where there had been some protests.
“All tourism-related businesses and services in destinations throughout the kingdom have resumed normal operations,” said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
“It is not expected that any further curfews will be imposed.”
It went on to describe the move as good news for restaurants, entertainment venues and other tourism-related businesses, as well as Thailand’s tourism industry as a whole.
The May coup was staged after six months of sometimes violent street protests, the latest flare-up in a 10-year conflict between the Bangkok-based royalist establishment and mostly rural "red-shirt" supporters of ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin.
Thawatchai Arunyik, TAT governor, said: “This latest announcement by the NCPO should help reassure everyone coming for a holiday in Thailand or to enjoy the country’s shopping, dining and nightlife attractions that it’s business as usual and that the famous Siamese smile has not dimmed.”
Aside from banning any gatherings of more than five people and imposing martial law, the army has also demanded that all World Cup matches be screened for free .
The junta has also announced it will set up "reconciliation centres" across the country to organise entertainment for the public and encourage cooperation with the new government.
Other initiatives to win hearts and minds so far have included dressing attractive young women in army outfits and asking them to sing, dance and salute to the public.
The Foreign Office warns that “it is illegal to criticise the coup and you should be wary of making political statements in public. Some anti-coup demonstrations are taking place in Bangkok and some other cities. These could become violent.
“You should exercise extreme caution,” the advice on its website continues, “and remain alert to the situation. If you’re in any doubt about your safety, stay in your accommodation. You should avoid all protests sites, political gatherings, demonstrations and marches.”
Regarding travel insurance for British visitors it said: “Before travelling to Thailand check with your insurance provider that they will continue to cover for claims arising from the current situation. Some travel insurance policies exclude cover following a military coup or the imposition of martial law, and your insurance may be invalid.”
This article was written by Natalie Paris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.