Tourists in Thailand seem unfazed by the military taking control of the government in last week’s coup, with the main gripe being the 10 p.m. curfew instituted by the new rulers, even as the military has received condemnation in much of the world.
Phil Koenighaus, a German backpacker who celebrated the country’s notorious “Half Moon” festival party as the coup took control last week, said the political situation won’t change his stay in Thailand.
"I figured if I survived the Half Moon Party, I could go to Bangkok and brave the coup," Koenighaus told the Associated Press Tuesday.
Rosemary Burt, an American tourist, said she hasn’t been impacted by the coup, save for the curfew.
"It's really like nothing's changed, except you have to go home before 10," said Burt, who was traveling to Thailand from Gilbert, Arizona, with her daughter, Dior Tidwell.
Tidwell said she was concerned at first over the coup, but her fears have subsided. “I thought it was going to be a little dangerous,” she said.
Other tourists shared pictures of themselves enjoying Thailand’s famed beaches as they asked, “What coup?” Ordinary Thais also expressed their sentiment that the coup was not affecting everyday life.
â€” Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) May 25, 2014
Coup de what? pic.twitter.com/FpPQQwt6vj
â€” ทะนะรัด (@hausofTatar) May 22, 2014
But while some tourists already in Thailand aren’t worried, the country’s tourism industry is taking a hit, according to the AP. Uncertainty over the length of the coup could be a blow to the economy, of which tourism accounts for 7 percent and provides 2 million jobs.
Piyaman Tejapaibul, president of the Tourist Council of Thailand, is urging the military to lift the curfew at beach resort areas, including Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi and Samui.
"Everyone in the country, especially in the tourism sector, hopes military rule is lifted soon and democracy restored," she told the Phuket Gazette.
More than 40 countries, including the U.S., have issues travel warnings against going to Thailand that prohibited nonessential travel. Hong Kong also issues a travel alert and its Travel Industry Council canceled 70 tour groups of 1,300 people. The coup has also been condemned by much of the international community as the new military government detained political leaders and imposed martial law.
Hotels in Thailand have been dealing with a fury of cancelations. Deepak Ohri, chief executive of the Lebua Hotel, which was featured in “Hangover 2,” said he’s received more than 650 cancelations in the last five days. To attract locals, the hotel is promoting “Staycations,” where locals can get drinks or dinner and be home by the 10 p.m. curfew.
But hotels have not yet reduced prices for overseas tourists, with many spots taking a wait-and-see approach on the coup.
“If this continues another week, there will be a price war,” Ohri told the AP. “Then again if civil war happens, hotel price wars have no significance.”