Tourists urged to avoid hotspot

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 April, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong people were asked to avoid going to Bangkok as the situation in the Thai capital showed signs of worsening last night.

The Hong Kong government stepped up its travel warning at about 8.30pm, roughly four hours after it issued a travel advice urging people to 'seriously consider adjusting' their trips to Thailand.

But many Hong Kong residents and tour groups continued to board flights to Thailand yesterday. Hong Thai Travel Services - a major local agency that organises Southeast Asian tours - said it would not cancel nine Thailand tours set to depart today.

'Protesters mainly gathered at Government House, which is quite far away from tourist spots,' Eileen Ho Chiu-wa, the agency's assistant general manager for Southeast Asian tours said. 'Our tour guides said areas around the tourist attractions were quite calm and normal. We will closely monitor the situation.'

But an EGL Tours guide in Bangkok told RTHK a tour itinerary had to be changed yesterday to avoid protesters.

The Immigration Department has alerted Hong Kong tourists to the Thai crisis through phone messages and, as of 9pm, neither the department nor the Travel Industry Council had received any calls for assistance. The Security Bureau also updated Hongkongers in Bangkok on the latest situation via mobile phone text messages. The council estimated there were about 8,000 Hong Kong tourists in Thailand.

Asked about the possibility of the government sending charter flights, a Security Bureau spokeswoman said the Bangkok international airport and flights were operating normally. The government would monitor the situation closely and take the necessary action if circumstances required it.

Hong Kong tourists can call 1868 in case of emergencies.

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