Japan calls off all tours to Thailand

Singapore airlines also slash flights to Bangkok

The decision to impose an emergency decree to manage the spreading and intensifying anti-government protests in Bangkok has led to cancellations of all Japanese tours to Thailand, according to Anake Srishevachart, president of the Thai-Japan Tourist Association.

To foreign tourists, the emergency decree is a sign of a possible outbreak of violence between the government’s foes and its supporters, and with security forces.

Last year, 1.4 million Japanese tourists visited Thailand. They spent an average of Bt20,000-Bt30,000 per person and stayed in Thailand for an average of about five days on each trip. Thus the cancellation of Japanese tours to Thailand will likely be a big blow to the revenue of the tourism and service sectors, especially during the current high season.

The association is urging the government to review the possibility of lifting the decree as soon as possible to restore some of the confidence of foreign tourists and promote calm about the current situation for the sake of the Thai economy and employment, especially in the tourism and service sectors.

Meanwhile, The Straits Times reported yesterday that fewer flights were being operated between Singapore and Bangkok as travellers shunned the volatile Thai capital.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has confirmed a second round of cuts to its flights to Bangkok, while budget carrier Tigerair axed its first flights on Monday. Singaporean travel agents foresee more cancellations in the coming weeks after the imposition of a 60-day state of emergency.

SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides said that in view of the current situation, the airline would cut another 24 flights to Bangkok from now until February 27 on top of a previously announced reduction of 19 flights.

Tigerair is also cutting flights, a spokesman said.

Budget carriers AirAsia, Jetstar and Scoot have not axed services but are monitoring the situation in Bangkok, according to The Straits Times.