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23 May 2014

Thailand latest: how does the coup affect tourists?

With the political situation in Thailand being somewhat volatile in recent times, holidaymakers planning to visit the south-east Asian country will no doubt be eager to learn exactly what effect yesterday's (May 22nd) military coup will have on tourists.

Indeed, with some 800,000 Brits visiting Thailand every year, many people will have already booked flights to the destination, and may now be concerned that they won't be able to enjoy their holiday.

The first thing that all prospective visitors should be aware of is that the military has imposed a temporary curfew, which affects all parts of the country and applies equally to tourists and locals.

What this means is that anyone found on the streets between the hours of 10pm and 5am is liable to be detained, with a message having gone out from the Thai Tourist Authority advising all tourists to return to their accommodation at this time.

However, the military has stated that exceptions will be made for international visitors who need to travel to or from the airport during these hours, which is good news for anyone who may have feared that the curfew could cause them to miss their flight.

At present there is no word on how long this curfew will remain in place, which is why anyone either currently in Thailand or thinking of heading there this summer is being urged by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to follow the situation closely by keeping an eye on global media.

The FCO has not advised against travel to Thailand, although does recommend that anyone who isn't sure if it's safe to be out on the streets should return immediately to their accommodation, rather than take any chances.

The safety of all tourists has been assured by both the Thai military and the nation's tourism authority, although all visitors are being warned to stay away from large public gatherings and protests.

Posted by Anne Jones