Vietnamese tourists undeterred by Thai chaos
No reports of Vietnamese tourists fleeing Thailand’s latest round of political protests
The latest anti-government unrest in Thailand has scared some tourists away but domestic tour operators say no Vietnamese tourists have asked to return home from the popular destination.
Three weeks of unrest in the capital Bangkok reached a crescendo on Monday as soldiers and protesters clashed, leaving 123 injured. The same day, two people died in skirmishes between locals and "red shirts," supporters of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Reuters reported.
In the nearby resort city of Pattaya, a six-hour state of emergency was declared on Sunday after protesters there shut down an Asian summit meeting.
Travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City estimated about 500 Vietnamese tourists were now in Thailand.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand said all Vietnamese tourists in Thailand were safe, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Viettravel Director Nguyen Quoc Ky said all 200 clients his company had sent to Thailand were safe and continuing with their planned itineraries.
However, Viettravel had postponed tours to Thailand due to start this week for safety reasons, Ky said.
Viettravel said 25 tourists had returned to Vietnam after finishing tours on Monday and the rest of the company’s clients would come home over the next two days.
“Our partners in Thailand said the situation is under control,” said Nguyen Viet Hung, director of Fiditour, which sent 85 Vietnamese tourists to Thailand on April 12. “So our clients are visiting Thai tourist sites as planned.”
Domestic travel giant Saigontourist confirmed that four groups of Vietnamese tourists – a total of 70 people - were now in Thailand and none of them had asked to return home.
Lam Tu Khoi, deputy manager of Saigontourist’s outbound department said all his company’s clients in Bangkok had been advised to remain inside their hotels at night for safety reasons, Saigon Times newspaper reported.
Khoi said Saigontourist had also received queries about Thailand’s situation from clients who had booked tours to the country for the long weekend that takes in public holidays on April 30 and May 1.
The escalating chaos in Thailand has caused many countries around the world, including Australia, Russia, Japan and Korea, to warn their citizens to avoid or reconsider traveling to the protest-hit Bangkok.
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended Japanese residents and visitors to Thailand refrain from wearing red or yellow T-shirts, to avoid being mistaken for either anti- or pro-government protesters.
Thailand is one of the most popular foreign tourist destinations for Vietnamese travelers for its attractive tour prices and services.
Late last year, hundreds of Vietnamese tourists were stranded in Thailand as Bangkok’s two main airports were shut down for more than a week after being taken over by political protesters.
Source : vietnewsonline.vn
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