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Published on : Monday, December 2, 2013
After thousands of Thai protesters swarmed multiple government buildings in violent clashes on Sunday, Hong Kong’s biggest travel agencies and tour operators have changed tourists’ itineraries. Some tour groups from Hong Kong will now avoid Siam Square, a big shopping and entertainment district, in Bangkok.
Joseph Tung Yao-chung, the executive director of the Travel Industry Council, said: “Wing On have said there has been a change of itinerary because they understand few shopping malls have been closed. The agents decided that since [shopping malls] have been closed, and receiving agents have told Hong Kong they will change their itinerary.”
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the anecdotal evidence has fuelled fears that prolonged protests and heightening tensions will have a long-term blow on Thailand’s tourism industry.
Tung stressed tourist safety was the number one priority. “We have already told agents in Hong Kong and the receiving agents in Thailand to make sure the priority is the safety of tourists. Right now, we have not received problems arising from the tour groups. More than 1,000 Hongkongers, or 30 to 40 group tours, in Bangkok have been trying to avoid protest hotspots. So far, all of the tour groups are safe.”
The Security Bureau has advised caution for travelling to Bangkok and Phuket.