Thailand’s prime minister said Friday that order was being restored across Bangkok, news agencies reported, but the damage to Thailand’s tourism industry following deadly political clashes has been done.
"There is no doubt that the events of the past 48 hours will have further undermined the confidence of many tourists and business travelers," Hiran Cooray, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said in a statement on Thursday, following two days of violent clashes.
At least 83 people have been killed in political violence over the last two months, with violent protests reaching a fever pitch on Wednesday and Thursday, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. State Department issued a Thailand travel warning last weekend.
On Friday, a Thailand government spokesman held a press briefing stating that the situation had improved overnight. "While incidents of threat, intimidation and arson had occurred in some areas, the authorities were able to resolve and stabilize the situation," the spokesman stated.
Thailand’s Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation said it will start to provide assistance and support for small- and medium-sized businesses negatively impacted by the violence.
Thailand’s government said Friday it would continue to ensure security and safety and would be working to keep the public and the international community informed of the latest developments.
At least one tour operator, Australian adventure company Intrepid Travel, has canceled a number of its Thailand trips.
"Countries around the world have increased their warnings for travel to Thailand, confirming what our office in Bangkok has already told us, that it's unsafe to travel in Bangkok at the moment," Intrepid Travel spokeswoman Eliza Anderson said in a statement. "We are hoping that the situation changes quickly so that tourists return to Thailand and normal life can resume for people living in Bangkok."
The decision to cancel trips departing for Bangkok up until and including May 31 impacts 69 Intrepid Travel passengers on a total of 26 trips. Passengers are being notified of the decision and are being offered a full refund on their travel.
PATA pledged to work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand in shaping and implementing a tourism-recovery plan.