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Posts Tagged ‘Thailand Demonstrations’

6th December 2013

Notwithstanding the fact that demonstrations in Bangkok were briefly discontinued in order to observe His Majesty the King’s birthday, it appears that demonstrations are set to recommence as of Friday December 6th. It would appear that some anti-government demonstrators have remained in government office buildings as of the morning of the 6th as pro-government activists vow to undertake demonstrations at a later date.

The demonstrations in Bangkok have been a cause for concern especially for businesses which operate in the Thai tourism sector. However, officials in the Thai government appear willing to take measures to maintain tourism numbers in Thailand. The fact that a number of governments around the world have issued travel warnings to their citizenry has been a cause for worry amongst many in the tourism industry. It  was recently announced that notwithstanding the recent demonstrations tourism numbers in Thailand are still holding strong, but should demonstrations continue and tensions escalate there are some who worry that the effects could be detrimental. Hopefully, leaders from both factions can come to an amicable solution and avert a prolonged stalemate, only time will tell.

Meanwhile, various news outlets throughout Thailand are reporting upon recent news about Thai Immigration officials taking a firmer stance regarding the issuance of Thai retirement visas. In the past it was possible to obtain a retirement visa based upon showing a balance of eight hundred thousand Thai baht in a Thai bank account. Furthermore, a retired married couple could both use this balance when making an application for a retirement visa. With the passage of a law amending the Thai immigration rules, officials with the Thai immigration police have announced that future Thai retirement visa applicants must now show that they independently maintain an eight hundred thousand baht bank balance. This means that it is no longer possible for a foreign retired married couple to both obtain retirement visas based upon showing only 800,000 baht. In fact, such a hypothetical couple would now need to show at least 1.6 million baht in a joint Thai bank account or in 800,000 increments in two separate accounts. Officials noted that those maintaining a statutorily defined minimum pension may be eligible to receive a retirement visa provided proof of said pension could be verified by Thai immigration authorities. Those married to Thai nationals could also be eligible to receive Thai marriage visas (sometimes referred to as an O visa) which requires a lower bank balance in order to prove financial ability to support one’s spouse.

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12th November 2013

It was recently announced that the President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Piyaman Tejapaibul met with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House on 12 November 2013 in order to discuss matters pertaining to tourism in the Kingdom of Thailand. This recent meeting was held as Bangkok and other areas of Thailand have seen demonstrations which seem to be causing concern for Thai officials. Although many in Thailand feel that the demonstrations should be monitored, they are unlikely to adversely impact the tourism sector so long as the demonstrations remain confined to specific relatively small geographic areas. Over 26 million tourists are expected to travel to Thailand in 2013 and are also expected to bring in revenue well over 1.5 trillion Thai baht to the local economy. This being the case, it  is little wonder that officials in the Thai government as well as the industries which thrive upon tourism related activities are concerned about the possible negative consequences stemming from recent political demonstrations (regardless of affiliation).

The Thai government appears committed to a policy non-violence towards demonstrators as, so long as demonstration remain peaceful, they are not prohibited by law. Meanwhile it currently appears that these demonstrations are confined to only a few areas of the City of Bangkok, namely: Phan Fa Bridge, Makkhawan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, and Democracy Monument. At present, increased security measures have been undertaken in these locations as a precautionary measure while traffic police in the city work in earnest to ensure that these activities do not interfere with normal traffic flow in Bangkok. That being stated, some roads and facilities near demonstration sites may be temporarily closed due to demonstrations occurring close by so travelers are advised to research their traffic route prior to traveling in certain parts of the city so as to forestall unnecessary delays.

As of the time of this writing, nearly 20 countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens urging them to try to avoid areas where demonstrations may be taking place. In the recent past, demonstrations have led to significant disruptions in Bangkok as parts of the city were, at one time, virtually impenetrable to ingress and egress. However, under the current circumstances it would appear that such a situation will be unlikely to come about in the near future.

Tourism is a substantial aspect of the Thai economy and it is rather impressive to see government officials as well as civil servants making efforts to see to it that tourism is not affected by recent political activities. Moreover, it would appear that demonstrators are making a conscious effort to keep demonstrations peaceful and confine their activities to certain areas.

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