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Thailand: Bangkok Political Demonstrations – Updated 16th January

 

ABTA have updated their travel advice for Thailand.

From the reports we have received from operators and their handling agents locally we are advised that whilst the pre-election protects continue they are generally peaceful and reports suggest that slightly fewer numbers of protestors are demonstrating than recorded on the first day of the protests 13th January.

The intersection from Central Chidlom to the Wireless Road / Ploenchit intersection has reopened, but the occupation of the core downtown area from MBK to Siam Paragon to Central World to the Rajaprasong intersection to Central Chidlom remains in place. Despite the blockades all emergency vehicles are being allowed to pass freely.

We are advised that as the core group of protestor’s moves around the city to the various protest sites additional traffic restrictions or blockades may occur at short notice.

The public transport systems within the city remain fully operational. Both Bangkok Airports continue to be unaffected, however we understand that pick up times from Bangkok city hotels for transfers to the airport remain at approximately 4 hours prior to flight departure.

The media are reporting that in the early hours of the morning there were a few isolated incidents in various areas of the city which were apparently directed against the protestors – further details are including in the Tourism Authority of Thailand update below.

Areas outside Bangkok and other tourist destinations within Thailand such as Phuket, Samui, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai remain fully operational and are not affected by the demonstrations.

It is likely that protests will continue until the 2nd February elections and whilst the protests to date have been generally calm, local reports suggest there is the potential for protests to escalate into violence without warning and therefore customers currently in Bangkok are advised to avoid any public demonstrations or rallies and stay away from all blocked intersections and all areas of demonstrations.

Members with programmes in the region are advised to continue to liaise with their handling agents locally to obtain the latest information regarding any known protests and establish what contingency measures are being put in place. Customers in resort should be advised of any changes to their holiday itineraries as a result.

Customers due to travel around the protest and election dates should be advised of any changes to their holiday itineraries as appropriate.

Tourism Authority of Thailand – Update – 15th January 2014 19.30pm

The protests continue today in a peaceful manner and with slightly fewer numbers than on Monday.

In the early hours of the morning (around 1am), several incidents involving gun fire were reported in two areas of the city. These were carried out by an isolated group of anti-protesters. Thankfully these actions took place when very few people were on the streets. With this in mind, while the protests have been peaceful by day, we continue to advise tourists to stay away from the protest sites during the day and evening for their own safety and comfort.

We have spoken with colleagues and friends who live and work in Bangkok who have reported that commuting and business in the city continues as usual. While there are a few delays on the roads, overall the effects have not been that bad. Tourist attractions are still open as usual and sightseeing tours are running as scheduled.

One tourist has been in touch with us and said "..the transfer/flights were as smooth as could be – indeed the roads are emptier, because of the protests, so the traffic is thinner. I am now in the Koh Samui. Wow!"

The intersection from Central Chidlom to the Wireless Road / Ploenchit intersection has been reopened this morning, but the occupation of the core down town area from MBK to Siam Paragon to Central World to the Rajaprasong intersection to Central Chidlom remains in place. Despite the blockades, some tourist vehicles and all emergency vehicles are being allowed to pass freely. The Shopping Malls in the affected area the city remain open, however with altered trading hours.

The public transport systems within the city remain fully operational. Both Bangkok Airports continue to be unaffected, however transfer times from Bangkok city hotels to the airport remain at 4 hours prior to flight departure.

As of 14th January 2014…

We are pleased to report that the protests have been peaceful and there have been no reports of violence or civil unrest. Life in Bangkok continues with a reasonable amount of normality, tourist attractions remain open and sightseeing tours are continuing as scheduled.

Today’s news reports about FCO travel warnings are incorrect. We can confirm that Thailand is still safe to travel to and there are no restrictions on travelling to Thailand in place. There is no reason for tourists to cancel their holiday. The FCO website, at this time, simply gives a situation update and general travel advice. If tourists wish to make changes to their itineraries we suggest they speak to their tour operator or travel agent directly.


Overnight the demonstrators have expanded their occupation of the central downtown areas and now block vehicle access from MBK to Siam Paragon to Central World (shopping malls) to the Rajaprasong intersection to Central Chidlom and to the Wireless Road / Ploenchit intersection.

Despite the blockades, some tourist vehicles, taxis carrying tourists with special stickers and all emergency vehicles are being allowed to pass freely. The public transport systems within the city remain fully operational and people are moving around the city freely. Extra Security personnel have been placed around the city in order to protect both airports and other key transportation links. The airports remain open and are operating as usual with no unplanned cancellations.

Most local services such as shops, restaurants, banks and bars remain open for business, as do the famous shopping malls in the central downtown area of the city.

The Tourist Friends Center (TFC) – operated by The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand – are open 24 hours a day to offer special assistance for tourists during this time. There are two TFC branches at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport and five TFC Help Desks located at the following BTS stations: Siam, Phaya Thai, Ekkamai, Wong Wian Yai, as well as at the Hua Lampong MRT station.

While the protests yesterday and overnight were peaceful and largely had a festival and party atmosphere, we continue to recommend that all tourists to the city stay clear of blocked intersections and all areas of demonstrations. While they are not in immediate danger the crowds gathering are large and be overwhelming to tourists who are not familiar with the city.

Please allow 4 hours prior to flight departure to travel to the airport.

All destinations outside of Bangkok within Thailand such as Phuket, Krabi, Samui, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai remain fully operational and are not affected by the demonstrations.

Useful contact numbers should you require assistance in Bangkok today:
TAT Call Centre 1672
Tourist Police Call Centre 1155
Traffic Police Call Centre 1197
BMTA (city bus and van service) Call Centre 1348
BTS Hotline +66 (0) 2617 6000
MRT Customer Relations Center +66 (0) 2624 5200
SRT Call Centre 1690
Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) Call Centre 1490
AOT (Suvarnabhumi Airport) Call Centre 1722
Suvarnabhumi Airport Operation Centre (temporary) +66 (0) 2132-9950 or 2
Thai Airways International Call Centre +66 (0) 2356 1111
Bangkok Airways Call Centre 1771
Nok Air Call Centre 1318
Thai AirAsia Call Centre +66 (0) 2515 9999
See more at: http://uk.blog.tourismthailand.co.uk/2013/11/13/situation-update-political-protests-in-bangkok-as-of-13-november-2013/#sthash.tYNC0lKj.dpu

Please view your local authority information/travel advice for Thailand, via below links:

FCO: https://www.gov.uk

USA Advice: http://travel.state.gov

Australia Federal: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au, http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au

 

Madagascar Travel Advice - Added 5th December- Updated 24th December- Current 16th January

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Madagascar in relation to travel to the national parks of ‘Montagne d’Ambre’ and ‘Ankarana’ in northern Madagascar. Please see an extract of the advice below:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Andohahela National Park and against all travel on road RN13 between Ambovombe and Ihosy. Take great care and follow local advice if you are travelling in the south east of the country. See Local Travel

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the national parks of ‘Montagne d’Ambre’ and ‘Ankarana’ in northern Madagascar. There have been confirmed reports of armed attacks, including robberies on tourists. See Local Travel

You should exercise caution throughout Madagascar at all times and avoid crowds. Following rioting on the island of Nosy Be on 2-3 October 2013, which resulted in the deaths of 2 Europeans and a Malagasy man, the situation is now calm. You should be particularly vigilant in the following areas of Nosy Be: Ambatoloaka, Hell-Ville, all beaches, and the road to the airport.

There has been continued political instability in Madagascar since January 2009. The first round of presidential elections took place on 25 October. The second round, together with legislative elections, took place on 20 December 2013. The announcement of provisional results is due by 8 January 2014 with final results by 22 January 2014.

The political situation may have an impact on security, especially in the capital and the bigger regional cities. Meetings and demonstrations are expected and the risk of public disorder can’t be ruled out. Take great care, particularly at night. See Local travel and Political situation

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

STA Travel are monitoring this situation and updates will be added to the travel advice pages.

 

Malaysia Travel Advice- Added 2nd December- Updated 20th December- Current 16th January

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Malaysia. Please see an extract of the advice below:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.

On 15 November, two Taiwanese tourists were attacked in their room at the Sipadan Pom Pom Resort, off the coast of eastern Sabah. A male tourist was killed and his wife kidnapped. This incident highlights the ongoing threat to foreigners of kidnapping and criminality on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular on the islands close to the Sulu Archipeligo in the southern Philippines.

You should take great care in the town of Sandakan and along the coastal area south to Tawau. You should also take great care in areas east of Lahad Datu and around Semporna following the confrontation in March 2013 between insurgents and Malaysian security forces. Keep up to date with developments, and follow the advice of your tour operator and the local authorities. See Terrorism and Local travel - Sabah

STA Travel are monitoring this situation and updates will be added to the travel advice pages.

 

Egypt Demonstrations - Added 21st November 2011 - Updated 16th January

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Egypt. Please see an extract of the advice below:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab; (ii) the St Catherine’s Monastery World Heritage Site; (iii) road travel between the Red Sea resorts; (iv) road travel from the Red Sea resorts to St Catherine’s Monastery approaching from the east; and (v) transfers between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh

the Governorates of Beni Suef, Minya, Asyut and Sohag

Protests and demonstrations

A referendum on a new constitution will take place on 14 and 15 January 2014. Protests and disruption to travel around the country are likely. You are advised to take particular care in the vicinity of polling stations and government buildings, and to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. Before embarking on a journey seek information about any disruptions to your route and consider your travel plans carefully.

Protests, marches and demonstrations are common across Egypt. Demonstrations often happen on Fridays, but can occur at any time and with little prior notice. The atmosphere at demonstrations can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.

There have been several violent clashes since July 2013 resulting in a large number of deaths. Most of the clashes have taken place in Cairo and Alexandria. On 3 and 6 October 2013 there were political protests in Cairo and other cities in Egypt that resulted in more than 50 deaths. At protests in Cairo, Alexandria, Fayoum and Ismailia on 3 January 2014 there were at least 12 deaths. There are ongoing protests and clashes within university campuses across the country.

A referendum on a new constitution will take place on 14 and 15 January 2014. Protests are likely. You are advised to take particular care in the vicinity of polling stations and government buildings, and to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Take particular care in areas with a history of regular protests. See Political & security section.

The full FCO travel advice for Egypt can be accessed here.

STA Travel are monitoring this situtuation and any updates will be added to this Travel advice page.

Brazil Travel Advice- Added 1st July- Updated 6th December- Current 16th January

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Brazil in relation to protests. Please see an extract of the advice below:

The football World Cup will be held in Brazil in 2014. See our advice page for travelling fans.

There are some ongoing protests in a number of Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Recife and Belo Horizonte. There have been violent incidents and injuries. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media and follow the guidance of local authorities.

STA Travel are monitoring this situtuation and any updates will be added to this Travel advice page.

Turkey Travel Advice- Added 3rd June- Updated 15th November- Current 16th December

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Turkey in relation to demonstrations. Please see an extract of the advice below:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the towns of Akḉakale and Ceylanpinar and against all but essential travel to areas within 10km of Turkey’s border with Syria.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Siirt and Tunceli. You should be especially vigilant when travelling in other provinces in south eastern Turkey and in areas close to the Syrian border. See Terrorism and Local Travel - Syrian border.

Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. Most visits are trouble-free.Demonstrations

Since late May 2013, there have been demonstrations in cities across Turkey where police have deployed tear gas and water cannon. Further disturbances can’t be ruled out and there remains a risk of a strong police response. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations. See Demonstrations.Terrorism

There is a high threat from terrorism. The KGK (formerly known as PKK) has carried out frequent attacks throughout the country, though these have reduced significantly since the launch of the Government’s peace process with the KGK in early 2013. Al Qaeda and other networks have specifically targeted western interests in Turkey. There have also been terrorist attacks close to the Syrian border. See Terrorism.

STA Travel are monitoring this situation and updates will be added to this Travel Advice page.

 

Bahrain Travel Advice- Added 13th April - Updated 17th December- Current 16th January

The Foreign Office have updated the travel advice for Bahrain:

Demonstrations and protests are a regular occurrence in Bahrain. Some can be violent. You should avoid large crowds and demonstrations. See Political situation.

The Government of Bahrain has imposed a curfew on the waterways around Bahrain between 6pm and 4am. You should respect this curfew. See Sea travel.

You must have legal status in Bahrain when you depart. See Exit requirements.

There is a general threat from terrorism. Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. See Terrorism.

 

Travel Advice for Syria - Updated 30th August- Current 16th January

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Syria to state that British Nationals should leave the country now by commercial means whilst these are still operating. Please read the extract below:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Syria. British nationals in Syria should leave now by any practical means. The FCO is not able to provide consular services, and won’t be able to help your evacuation from the country.

On 25 June, the Syrian government issued a new law stating that individuals who enter Syrian territories illegally will be punished by a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years and/or a fine of 5 to 10 million Syrian pounds.

There is widespread fighting throughout Syria, including in Damascus and its suburbs. Military operations have involved the use of aircraft, tanks and rocket-propelled grenades. The continuing violence, deteriorating security situation and Syria’s chemical and biological weapons programme creates a volatile situation.

There have been recent reports of chemical weapons usage in Syria for which no group has claimed responsibility. On 21 August, an alleged conventional and chemical weapons attack was reported in the suburbs of Damascus.

Fighting has caused the temporary suspension of commercial flights, closed roads, impeded access to land border crossing points and led to the closure of some border crossings.

There is a high threat from terrorism There have been a number of recent kidnappings, including of British nationals and other Westerners. There has been a large increase in the number of reported kidnaps of NGO workers in the last month.

If you choose to travel to Syria against our advice, make sure you and your family have a valid exit stamp on your travel documents if you need one and take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance.

As a result of the ongoing political and security instability and the implementation of sanctions against some Syrian institutions, financial transactions have become significantly more difficult. See Money.

British nationals requiring urgent consular assistance should contact the Embassy of any EU member state in Damascus. Alternatively British nationals can contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on +44 20 7008 1500 or e-mail ConsularEnquiries.Damascus@fco.gov.uk for consular enquiries.

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