Despite a campaign by anti-government protesters to shut down Bangkok this week, two tour operators report that Thailand bookings remain steady.
“We have over 90 trips that operate in Thailand and to this date we have not had to make any itinerary changes,” said Michael Sadowski, marketing coordinator for Intrepid Travel, which considers Thailand a top-selling destination.
“Our reservations team has received some inquiries from travelers booked on trips visiting Bangkok over the next few months, but this has not yet impacted new bookings to the destination and we are still taking on new bookings as normal.”
Protesters in Thailand have taken to the streets over the past two months in opposition to the current leadership, an effort that culminated this week with a pledge to shut down Bangkok. But news media reported that the shutdown was ultimately not as vigilant as originally intended, falling far short of a complete city closure.
“Groups now in Thailand may experience some delays, but the protesters actually work with [the Tourism Authority of Thailand] to open routes and lanes for tour buses, and there is even a map on the TAT website showing where protests will be relative to tourism highlights in the capital,” said Jeff Russill, vice president of innovation for G Adventures, which also does a significant amount of Thailand business.
G Adventures sends about 20,000 travelers to Bangkok each year. Despite the protests, forward sales for 2014 are up more than 40% from the same time last year, Russill said.
Russill said that Thailand is projecting a 4-5% dip travel for the first quarter of 2014, “but can’t say whether this is totally due to the protests. as protests have been happening on and off for a few years now with no real disruption to travelers.”
Thailand welcomed 26.7 million visitors in 2013, a 19.6% increase over the 22.3 million who visited the country in 2012, according to TAT.
TAT is updating the trade and travelers daily about the political situation and related travel logistics.
Photo of Bangkok protest in November courtesy of Shutterstock.com.