Open letter to Ambassadors and Media from William E. Heinecke,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Minor International PCL.
BANGKOK, 12 June 2014: In the wake of recent political developments in Thailand, I feel compelled to write to address what I believe to be gross misinterpretations of the current situation in Thailand by certain Western nations and elements of the international media. As a naturalised Thai citizen born in America I feel that I have a unique perspective on recent events and the reactions to these events. I have lived in Thailand for over 51 years but have not forgotten my western roots. I feel obliged to say something about the reaction in the West towards these recent events.
I am distressed by the interpretation by a number of Western governments and the international media of both the Coup that recently took place in Thailand and the situation that led to the Coup. Put succinctly, many of you have gotten it wrong. From where we sit in Thailand today, it is not an issue of which political party was right and which was wrong. All Thais will pull together to work within a system that is acceptable to the majority of Thais and is sustainable. Vilifying one party or politician will not lead to constructive reconciliation moving forward.
BANGKOK, 26 May 2014: Both Hong Kong and Singapore raised their travel alerts on Thailand over the weekend.
Singaporeans were told in an updated alert to “seriously reconsider visiting Thailand at the moment.”
The communiqué said the “situation was unpredictable and volatile and may evolve quite rapidly.”
BANGKOK, 21 March 2014: Hong Kong lowered its travel advisory for Thailand (Bangkok) from the highest level travel ban to a cautionary amber alert.
The administrative’s Security Bureau website, Wednesday, confirmed it had lowered its Outbound Travel Alert for Bangkok that had been at the highest colour-coded level of black.
The agency elaborated that it will continue to monitor the situation in Thailand and issue updates through the media and its webpage, www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota.
BANGKOK, 16 January 2014: Ministry of Tourism and Sport says 46 out of 68 embassies and consulates in the Thai capital are now advising citizens, living in or visiting Thailand, be extremely cautious of shutdown protests.
It is the highest number of travel advisories issued on Thailand since the 2010 bloody crackdown by the military that left 90 protesters dead and thousands injured.
The tourism ministry said Wednesday that most countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens to avoid the demonstration areas in Bangkok. They have not banned travel to Thailand.
BANGKOK, 20 December 2013: Ministry of Foreign Affairs refutes suggestions in the media that countries have issued blanket warnings against travelling to Thailand.
However, the ministry spokesperson, Sek Wannamethi, did reaffirm that 35 countries have issued travel advisories warning citizens to avoid political protests in Bangkok.
Russia, the Philippines, Romania and Taiwan and Hong Kong went a step further to advise citizens to avoid travelling to Bangkok entirely.
HONG KONG, 3 December 2013: Hong Kong travel agencies said Monday they were cancelling most package tours to Bangkok because of anti-government protests, after authorities issued a travel warning for the strife-torn Thai capital.
The Hong Kong government issued a “red” outbound travel alert on Bangkok, the second highest in its three-tier warning system, while other Asian countries urged citizens to exercise caution as turmoil continued on the streets.
“Residents intending to visit Bangkok should adjust their travel plans and avoid non-essential travel. Those already there should monitor the situation, attend to personal safety and avoid protests and large gatherings of people,” a Hong Kong government spokesman said in a statement.
BANGKOK, 7 November 2013: Nine countries have issued travel warnings urging their citizens to avoid areas where political demonstrations are taking place in the Thai capital, as the government confirmed it has imposed the internal security act in three city districts.
At 1435, today, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced in a TV address that she had withdraw the controversial Amnesty Bill to maintain peace in the country. She called on all citizens to work together to rebuild harmony to unite the nation.
She said the House of Representative agreed to withdraw the bill to move the country forward and avoid a repeat of past demonstrations that ended in violence and tragedy. She asked all protestors to disengage from the demonstration and hold hands together for the sake of the country’s peace and prosperity.
However, protest leaders will still need to respond and call off the demonsrtrations. They had given the PM until 1800 today to withdraw the bill or face an escalation in protests.
It will take a few days for travel advisories to be down graded.
Yesterday Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichackchaikul confirmed that eight nations – Canada, Brazil, France, United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, Israel, and Japan and the ecomomic zone Taiwan– had issued travel warnings.
Singapore was the ninth and the first ASEAN nations to advise it citizens to avoid places in the capital where political destinations were being held.
KUALA LUMPUR, 12 March 2013: Malaysian police said Monday they had cleared a remote village at the heart of a month-long incursion by Filipino Islamists as another gunman was killed, raising the toll in the crisis to 63.
But the remaining followers of a self-styled Philippine Sultan were still being hunted in a neighbouring village and surrounding farmland a week after Malaysia sent in the army to root them out.
Last week, travel advisories were issued by various countries, warning citizens to avoid Sabah.
BANGKOK, 22 February 2012: Tourism Authority of Thailand is communicating with overseas travel agencies to assess booking trends in the wake of last week’s bomb and grenade incident in a Bangkok residential district, according to TAT deputy governor for Asia and South Pacific, Sansern Ngao-rangsri.
Mr Sansern claims feedback from all 22 TAT overseas offices was positive with no signs of cancellations. TAT officials overseas were told to contact leading travel companies to gain first-hand knowledge.
“In the short-term, there have been no booking cancellations, but we will continue to monitor the markets daily,” said Mr Sansern.