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Thai demonstrations disrupt Chinese tour plans

Demonstrating red-shirt protesters have seriously affected Beijing travelers' plans to visit Thailand. Many travel agencies in China have canceled trips to Thailand since the demonstrations started on March 12.

Wang Xue, an employee with the Beijing Youth Travel Service (BYTS), told the Global Times that all tour groups from March 11 to 23 have been canceled or postponed. Another travel agency, Comfort Travel Service (CTS), has also stopped booking trips to Thailand between March 15 and 23.

 

Thai red-shirted demonstrators
            hold canisters of blood before pouring it on the footpath in front of
            the ruling Democrat Party's headquarters in Bangkok, capital of
            Thailand, March 16, 2010. [Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai]

Thai red-shirted demonstrators hold canisters of blood before pouring it on the footpath in front of the ruling Democrat Party's headquarters in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, March 16, 2010. [Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai]


All tours to Thailand from March 11 to 23 should be postponed or canceled, the National Tourism Administration warned. As reported Tuesday, travel agencies from Shanghai, Shenzhen and Zhejiang Province have already canceled their tour plans.

Some tourists are calling agencies to ask for compensation. "We are busy dealing with calls from consumers," said Wang.

"Because the government only gave a verbal warning, instead of a written one, CTS can't get the money back from Thai Airways International," said Bai Jin, an employee with CTS. "All other costs, including the Visa fee, are non-refundable."

 

Thai red-shirted demonstrator holds a
            canister of blood before pouring it on the footpath in front of the
            ruling Democrat Party's headquarters in Bangkok, capital of Thailand,
            March 16, 2010. [Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai]

Thai red-shirted demonstrator holds a canister of blood before pouring it on the footpath in front of the ruling Democrat Party's headquarters in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, March 16, 2010. [Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai]


BYTS said it cost them 100,000 yuan (14,647.83 U.S. dollars) per day because they had to cancel tours. CTS alone canceled or postponed 120 visitors to Thailand.

Beijing travel agencies are still waiting for the government to give out further details regarding the issue.

Last April, red protesters' demonstrations also had a huge impact on Thailand's tourism. "Our trips to Thailand stopped for one month last year," said Wang.

Though there are fewer visitors to Thailand, there are still some who are calling to consult agencies.

"The demonstrations do affect us, but tours after March 23 will go ahead as planned. And our tours are fully booked before March 30," Bai told the Global Times. "Thailand will be a hot travel destination in April because of its famous Songkran Festival," which is similar to the West's April Fool's Day.