Thailand’s NPOC has announced that it is lifting the 12 am to 4 am curfew in popular tourist locations, including the beach resort towns of Pattaya and Phuket. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the kingdom’s tourism marketing arm, wholeheartedly welcomes the lifting of the curfew in three major tourist areas. Coinciding to this the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the names of four couples who have won its “Dream Honeyteering Contest”. Interestingly, one of the four winning couples is from India.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, TAT Governor said, “The lifting of the curfew in Pattaya, Phuket and Ko Samui is welcome news. This latest development announced by the NCPO should help reassure everyone coming for a holiday in Thailand that it’s very much business as usual and that there’s no reason for anyone to change their plans.” While the curfew remains in place from 00.00 – 04.00 hours in the rest of Thailand, most local businesses, shops and restaurants have adjusted their opening times so that people can make use of their services. Tourists and travellers who need to travel to and from international airports can travel when necessary. All airports remain open and airlines continue to operate flights to Thailand as normal. TAT Governor added, “The recent political situation only affected a few small areas of Bangkok, while in the rest of the country daily life was not disrupted at all. There is no military presence in popular tourist areas and of course no danger to travellers going out of their hotels and guesthouses in the evening.” Months of bloody political unrest have dealt a heavy blow to the key tourism industry in the “Land of Smiles”, which welcomed a record 26.5 million foreign visitors in 2013.
The winners are Federica Xotti and Alberto Badiluzzi from Italy, who won a Hua Hin trip; Mark Aquino and Caroline Aquino from Philippines, who won a Chiang Mai trip; Thomas Andreasen and Michelle Simonsen from Denmark, who won a Phuket trip; Milton Rebeiro and Anita Rebeiro from India, who won a Ko Samui trip. The four winning couples will experience a unique honeyteering trip of their dreams in Thailand. The prize for each couple includes return international air tickets from their destination of origin, six nights’ accommodation at a luxury hotel in Thailand, all meals, volunteer activity of in the destination of their choice, sightseeing tours and transfers.
The choice of destinations offered for the participating couples includes Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui. For volunteer activity, the choices are teaching English conversation in a local school, working in a local community, protecting the marine environment, or helping on a nature conservation project. Milton and Anita Rebeiro have opted for Ko Samui, an indication of the destination’s rising popularity as a honeymoon destination among Indian couples.
Sethaphan Buddhani, director, TAT Mumbai says, “It’s encouraging to see the Indian traveller showing interest in voluntourism, which is an increasingly popular activity for tourists to Thailand from the world over. Particularly for the repeat tourist looking for a new experience in Thailand, this is an interesting option. Moreover, as the Indian market becomes increasingly well-travelled and starts to seek experiences that allow them an “insider” view, voluntourism allows them to interact with the locals and get incredible insights into Thai lifestyle.”