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"Thailand's Military Coup"

Dear Friends

Firstly let me assure you that everything is peaceful and calm. Military Coups have been a part of political life in Thailand for many years; there have been almost 40 since the end of the Second World War in Thailand we take them in our stride recognising them to be part of a process to bring about change. Unfortunately the word "Coup" or "Coup D'Etat" often means a violent transition of power; I am pleased to report that this is not the case in Thailand.

The military took control of the National TV last night and declared a takeover. In response the PM in New York declared a State of Emergency, but it was too late and he was too removed from 'home' to be effective. In essence it was a game of chess on a grand scale, but for many it came as no surprise and had been rumoured for many months. The tanks on the street and the military presence are more for posturing; morale support; photo opportunities, than being menacing or threatening. But...these negative images are receiving maximum global TV exposure.

The Military have declared today a National Holiday and have publicly announced that they have no intention of keeping power; they will hand over this responsibility at the earliest opportunity. The overall atmosphere is akin to a bank holiday weekend. There have been no reports of looting or rioting, and I think that this is unlikely.

The PM is still overseas and his family is in Singapore. It is unlikely he will be allowed to return to Thailand for the foreseeable future, although that is my personal assumption and not supported by actual events yet.

The rest of the cabinet all scattered. Many overseas, so they are unlikely to be able to mount any counter action.

Parliament and the Senate have all been suspended. The stock market will resume trading tomorrow.

What is likely to happen next is that the Military appointed Prime Minister will form an interim cabinet and run the country until General Elections can take place, which is likely to be November /December 2006.

And for visitors to Thailand...what might they expect to see? Well... very little actually, there maybe an increased military presence in some key areas in Bangkok, for instance around the parliament buildings and the Palace, but very little else. Tourists will still be on the beach, visiting temples and tourist attractions, playing golf, eating and drinking as normal. It is considered unlikely that a curfew will be imposed as the military are keen to restore normalcy as soon as possible.

With regards to my hotel guests, they were obviously concerned and many had questions. Occupancy has dropped from 74% to 51% and many government banqueting functions have been cancelled. The story is repeated around town, but nothing as bad as the 1991 coup when looting caused a mass exodus and occupancies plummeted across town. This time round everyone is remaining very calm and most guests, both local and overseas, understand very well the political background of current event.

It is my best guess that we will be back to almost ‘business as normal' in a matter of weeks.

related links:
2006_09_20_ThaiCoup2.htm

Yours sincerely
Andrew J Wood
General Manager
& Skål Int'l Councillor-Thailand

Chaophya Park Hotel & Resorts,
247 Rachadapisek Road,
Dindaeng, Bangkok. 10400
Tel: (662) 290 0125 Fax: (662) 290 0167
email: andrew@chaophyapark.com
website: www.chaophyapark.com

skype: andrew-bkk

** Chaophya Park Hotel - Winner of the 2006 Thai Hospitality Award for Excellence in Food & Beverage.
Winner of the 2005 Jacob's Creek Thai Hospitality Award for Sales and Marketing Excellence.**

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