Has the Military coup affected tourism in Thailand?

We have written this blog to inform travelers on the burning question: has the military coup  affected tourism in Thailand?


In order to understand the current measures taken by the Thai Military and the resulting consequences we have to let’s look at some of the key recent events:

  • • The year 2006 the Thai military ousted Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup. A former Thai business tycoon, he held the office of Prime Minister from 2001 till 2006. He won this office largely by promising billions of baht in subsidies to Thailand’s poor Northeastern rice and rubber farmers. This caused huge problems with Thailand’s economy and he was eventually tried and convicted by Thailands Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for abusing his political powers and embezzling billions. He has lived in exile since then.In the years from 2007-2011 Thailand found itself in a political turmoil. Governments were elected then accused of election manipulation and withdrawn from their administrative positions by the Military or due to the power of political protesters.
  • • On the 3th of July 2011,Yingluck Shinawatra, without being previously involved into politics,  became the first female prime minister of Thailand. Her political party slogan was “Thaksin thinks, Thai people act”. She was not only the first female minister but also the youngest sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. She was reviled by the public and thought of as a political puppet and somewhat of a joke by Thailand’s elite.
  • • On 7 May 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that Yingluck would have to step down as the Prime Minister as she was deemed to have abused her power by appointing a family member to a high- level government office without the support of her constituents. (Hodal, Kate. “Thai court orders Yingluck Shinawatra to step down as PM”. theguardian.com. Retrieved 7 May 2014.)This move followed six months of political deadlock as protesters rallied against Ms Yingluck’s government.
So with no Government in place and a lot of failure and corruption in the background ,Thailand’s army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha took over public safety on May 22th,announcing martial law in order to stabilize the current situation after the political unrests. The global reaction followed on pace, more than 40 countries have issued travel alerts, including the U.S. and Hong Kong, which have advised citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Thailand.This made some of the travelers coming to Thailand quite happy because this lack of demand decreases the overall prices and tourists the value of foreign currency increased. A lot of tourists prove this statement posting pictures from crystal clear waters and empty beaches, What Coup?
what-coup3Thailand’s way forward is not an easy one. The democratic election has yet to beannounced, and the different political parties must be brought together regainthe overall social stability. Thailand has had a lot of political problems in the past and most citizens believe this “coup” will be instrumental in returning the country to legitimate democracy. In terms of tourism, the Thai population is not nearly as bad as the foreign press releases make it sound. It’s citizens are well accustomed to political unrests and crises and well aware of how to cope with them (it is the 12th military coup since 1932). Thailand’s citizens know better than to threaten or interfere with visitors as more than 16.7% of National income is driven by tourism. In more rural areas, the coup has not been felt by residents at all. The worst thing that happened in Ta Khun was that the 7/11 closed down at 10 p.m.! Taxis, Busses, Trains, and tour companies continue to run with reasonable punctuality (considering it’s Thailand!) and there seems to be a general feeling of hope as most of the locals seem to be feeling positive about changes in their government.All of this said, there have been surprisingly few consequences to traveling foreigners:
Consequences of the curfew
  • • Political gatherings of more than five people banned, with penalties of up to a one-year jail term, 10,000 baht ($307) fine, or both. (Unless you are a political activist, this will have no affect on your vacation)
  • • Curfew hours are 12 a.m till 5 a.m. This is only enforced in the densely populated areas such as Phuket or Bangkok, and even then as long as you carry your passport and the address of your hotel, you should be fine.
  • • Mandatory check points at the entrance to all major towns , and provincial borders (although I have yet to hear of them stopping a bus or a train)
Contrary to what you may have heard:
  • • Overnight Buses / Planes are operating normally (no one will arrest you for being at a train or bus station between the hours of 12:00 and 5:00)
  • • The social media site Facebook was not blocked (feel free to post, tweet, and chat to your hearts content!)
  • • The national television was providing information on the first day of the coup has since returned to normal broadcasts. (Should you want to watch television in your hotel room, you may do so uninterrupted)
A recent political cartoon says it better than we could: what-coup-2