Tourism authority halts local marketing

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has decided to postpone new local marketing activities to promote Thai tourism this month and next, as Bangkok may be shut down by anti-government protesters today.

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Sugree Sithivanich, the deputy governor for marketing communication, said the TAT is waiting to see what happens with the protests, but major activities for long-haul markets will continue.

For big events such as ITB Berlin 2014, to be held from March 5-9, the TAT and Thai travel agents will use them to update visitors on new products and the political situation.

A total of 117 travel agents will join ITB.

Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the deputy governor for marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, said the TAT is not worried about the European market as long as the protests are peaceful.

As of last Friday, 45 countries and territories have issued travel advisories warning their citizens to avoid travelling to Bangkok, especially near protest areas.

Three other countries _ Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait _ have warned their citizens to reconsider their need to travel to Thailand, especially Bangkok.

Last year, tourist arrivals from Kuwait numbered 70,598, while 21,386 Saudi visitors came here.

The Tourism Department pegged total international tourist arrivals at 26.7 million.

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