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Thai martial law won't affect tourists: bureau

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The business and tourism activities will not be affected by the declaration of martial law by Thailand's army, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

The Tourism Bureau added, however, that tourists should avoid areas where protesters have gathered.

Thailand's army declared martial law before dawn Tuesday in a surprise announcement it said was aimed at keeping the country stable after six months of sometimes violent political unrest.

According to the Taipei office of the Thailand Tourism Division, the martial law declaration aims to stabilize the situation in Thailand and to limit the assembling of people to keep protests from expanding.

The Thailand Tourism Division in Taipei said that currently all business activities, banks, government organizations, transportation systems and shopping malls are operating regularly.

Tourists who visit Thailand without joining guided travel groups should avoid approaching the Democracy Monument and the Parliament House of Thailand since these areas are where protestors have gathered to oppose former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government, the Thailand Tourism Division in Taipei said.

According to the Thailand Tourism Division in Taipei, tourists should also avoid visiting the west suburb of Bangkok, where protestors who support the former Prime Minister's government have assembled.

The Thailand Tourism Division in Taipei said that tourists are not advised to go out at night or wear red or yellow shirts while traveling in Thailand.

The Travel Agent Association of R.O.C. Taiwan said that ever since the tension between the government and protestors started to increase, the number of tourists joining in guided tours has dropped by nearly 60 percent.

According to the Tourism Bureau, from this January to March, the total number of people visiting Thailand was 83,000 — a 27-percent decrease from the same period last year.

Earlier this month, the Constitutional Court ousted Yingluck and nine Cabinet ministers for abuse of power, but the move has done little to resolve the political conflict that pits the rural poor majority who support Yingluck and her opponents that largely come from the urban middle and upper class, according to the Associated Press.

Airlines Paying Close Attention to Situation in Thailand

China Airlines' chairman Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) yesterday said that the airline will adjust its flight schedule based on the situation in Thailand as well as demand from the market.

According to Sun, the scheduled flights bound to Thailand have been decreased from four to three flights daily from China Airlines, and there are 21 flights departing from Taipei to Bangkok weekly.

EVA Air, which currently has 14 scheduled flights from Taipei to Bangkok weekly, said that it will closely monitor the situation in Thailand and make adjustments accordingly.

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