News

    Bangkok's International Airport Officially Reopens

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Ron Corben

    Thailand's main international and domestic airports in Bangkok have officially reopened - the first step in the recovery of the country's tourism industry. Political protests had closed the runways for eight days, stranding hundreds of thousands of people.

    Thai dancers, puppet theater and traditional music greeted passengers Friday as Bangkok's international airport formally reopened.

    The ceremonies marked a first step toward recovery for the tourism industry after eight days of protests by the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy closed Bangkok's airports.

    Court ban led to end of siege at airports

    The siege ended Wednesday after a court banned Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and his party from politics because of election law violations.

    The protests stranded more than 300,000 travelers.

    Tourism accounts for about six percent of the country's economy, and in 2007 14 million people visited. Officials warn that could be cut by half next year, in part because of the protests. 

    New ad campaign hopes to revive tourism

    Santichai Euachongprasit, a marketing executive for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says a new advertising campaign will start soon.

    "A public relations [campaign], a strong message that we can take to the world that our situation is coming back to real normal and this is going to make the public have confidence in coming back to Thailand," said Santichai.

    Somsong Sachaphimukh, is the general manager of the travel agent, S.S. Group. She is confident that European travelers will be among the first to return to Thailand.

    "I can say that 80 percent will come back to Thailand because of the hospitality they have received from the Thai [people]. Thai Airways and the TAT they joined hands to really help the tourists," she said.

    Airport flight schedule not yet back to normal

    Although airport officials say the facilities are ready to go, not all airlines have rescheduled flights. On Friday, the international facility handled about two-thirds its normal daily load of 700 flights.

    Australian traveler Gary Radcliff was ready for his flight.

    "I'm very pleased about it. I'll be glad to get home. I was going out Thursday a week ago. Under the current circumstances I've got no complaints," he said.

    But, he adds, he will wait until Thailand's political situation calms down before returning.

    Thailand is politically deeply split. Coalition parties tied to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are strongly backed by rural and working class voters.

    But the PAD and other groups, made up largely of the educated middle class, accuse Mr. Thaksin of being corrupt and authoritarian.  The PAD vows to resume its protests if the next prime minister is too closely linked to Mr. Thaksin.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora