Is emergency decree actually good for tourism?

Economy January 27, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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The emergency decree last week came as the latest development in the hectic political scene. Foreign chambers of commerce voiced their fears of negative investor sentiment.

And it seemed the tourism industry should be the most affected, given that some countries raised their travel warnings to Level 5, the maximum, while many others put theirs at Level 3. Indeed, Bangkok hotels are reporting unseasonably low occupancy rates.
If anyone sees the benefits of the decree to the tourism industry, it must be Rawewan Netarakavesana, the general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport. 
Asked to give a comment on this last week, she said: “I think this decree would assure tourists of safety.”
Rawewan should know what she’s talking about, as she has been working with Airports 
of Thailand for decades and is due to retire in October. 
We’ll see. The airport’s monthly passenger report will tell why its general manager is unfazed by the emergency decree.
Time to experience mass transit
We can’t imagine how life was for the top executives at Land & Houses, one the biggest property companies, after the emergency decree was announced.
Last week, it was tough enough for both LH president Naporn Sunthornchitcharoen and managing director Adisorn Thananun-Narapool.
Because of the “Bangkok shutdown”, the company had rescheduled its annual press conference to last week. Then they experienced difficulties moving the event from their office on Sathorn Road to Grand Centre Point Terminal 21 at Asoke Intersection. It is one of major intersections seized by anti-government protesters.
Naporn said he studied the protest routes the night before to make sure he could be at the event ahead of time. 
“However, all the information I got from my research evaporated in the morning. I forgot that this intersection had been seized until I got near it,” he said.
He had to pull over and park his car. His chauffeur was called to pick up the vehicle. So how did he get to his destination? He took a motorcycle taxi to Lumpini Station and the MRT to Asoke Station.
Adisorn’s fate was equally painful. He also took a motorcycle taxi from Klong Toei to Lumpini Station, at a cost of Bt30. 
“It’s a good experience travelling in Bangkok during the shutdown,” he said.
After the press conference, they took the MRT back to office. 
Endless hunger for good feed 
Fans of Garrett Popcorn have reason to cheer. This week, the famous popcorn chain will open its first Thai flagship store at Siam Paragon. 
As the company is hiring staff, the Facebook/GarrettPopcornShopsTH was launched. Even before the shop’s opening, fans were telling others their plans to make a visit. As of 9pm on Friday, the page had 12,607 “likes”. 
It seemed strange given that most US companies are reluctant to invest in a politically unstable market. But the patrons here paid Bt500 for a bucket of popcorn from Singapore, and they are ready to go through protesters to the shop. 
Thais’ love of food can overcome anything. 
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