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Ease off on curfew time, tourism council tells junta

The Tourism Council of Thailand yesterday urged the National Council for Peace and Order to delay the start of curfew from 10pm to midnight.

"The NPCO should ease the curfew time if it is confident that the current situation is safe enough to do so," TCT president Piyaman Tejapaiboon said.

The junta could cut down the curfew period in steps before getting rid of it completely, she suggested.

The coup leaders had to intervene to maintain peace in society but the TCT's task is to bring back the smiles on people's faces once again, she said. Shortening the curfew would let people see that the situation is improving.

The TCT has lowered its forecast for arrivals from 28 million to 27.8 million this year, but that is still up from 26.8 million last year.

The tourism industry expects to earn at least Bt1.9 trillion for the country this year, split between Bt1.2 trillion from foreign tourists and Bt700 billion from domestic tourists.

The biggest impact of the coup is on meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions tourism. Many business meetings and seminars have been cancelled but the impact on individual travellers remains to be seen.

"Since tourists cannot take out travel insurance, they might hesitate to come to Thailand for a vacation. But for tourists who understand the country, they will know where to go to avoid the situation in the capital," she said.

Fifty governments have issued medium-level travel warnings but only three - the Philippines, Hong Kong and South Korea - have placed Thailand on the highest level, Piyaman said.


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