BANGKOK (Reuters) - Many countries have issued travel advisories for the Thai capital since Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency in April to quell unrest that has killed 27 people and wounded nearly 1,000.
The United States, Britain and Australia have recently advised against travel to anywhere in Thailand, not just Bangkok.
Arrivals at Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi airport dropped by a third in April, putting a government target of 15.5 million tourists this year in doubt and dealing a blow to an industry that supports 6 percent of the economy.
Following are some advisories from foreign governments:
BRITAIN - On April 27, the British government advised against all travel to the country because “violent incidents of an unpredictable nature are occurring in many parts of Thailand,” citing protests and incidents in tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Ayuthaya.
In 2009, 841,000 British tourists came to Thailand, more than from any other European country, according to government data.
AUSTRALIA - The Australian government has also advised its citizens to “reconsider your need to travel to Thailand.”
“There is a strong possibility of violent clashes in Bangkok and in other parts of Thailand between demonstrators and security forces. These clashes could involve the use of lethal force and could occur at any time.”
In 2009, 647,000 Australians visited Thailand.
THE UNITED STATES - On April 28, the State Department advised against non-essential travel to Thailand. In 2009, 627,000 Americans came to Thailand.
GERMANY - The German government has issued a heightened security alert for Thailand and tour operators have canceled tours to Bangkok and some destinations in northern provinces.
Some 573,000 Germans visited Thailand in 2009.
CANADA - Canada warned on April 28 against non-essential travel to Thailand. “The security situation is very volatile with significant potential for further civil unrest, violent clashes, and attacks.” About 170,000 Canadians came to Thailand in 2009.
NEW ZEALAND- New Zealand warned against non-essential travel to Thailand and advised citizens concerned about their safety to consider leaving the country. “There is high risk to your security in Thailand due to the uncertain political situation, civil unrest and threat from terrorism,” it said.
Some 88,000 New Zealanders visited Thailand in 2009.
JAPAN - Japan raised its security risk level for Thailand to 2 out of the maximum 4 on April 27, advising its nationals to seriously reconsider travel plans to the affected areas and take precautions if they did decide to make a trip. Just over a million Japanese tourists came to Thailand in 2009.
CHINA - On April 26, Beijing warned its people not to visit and to “temporarily leave Bangkok if possible” if already there.
Chinese tourists canceled in droves in April after violence on April 10 that spilled into the Khao San Road area, popular with low-budget travelers. Some 778,000 people travelled to Thailand from China in 2009. Another 319,000 came from Hong Kong.
SINGAPORE - Singaporeans have been advised against non-essential travel to Bangkok since April 10. “Singaporeans who are already in Bangkok are strongly advised to remain indoors as far as possible and avoid unnecessary travel within the city, in particular to avoid the areas where demonstrations are occurring.”
SOUTH KOREA - South Korea is advising its citizens to avoid travel to Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.
TAIWAN - Taiwan is maintaining its “red” level alert on travel to the Bangkok area. Red is the highest level of alert in Taiwan’s four-tier warning system and urges nationals to refrain from traveling to the affected area. About 350,000 Taiwanese tourists visited Thailand last year.
(Sources: Embassy and government websites; Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports; tour operators)
Editing by Jason Szep and Alex Richardson
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