Bangkok, Thailand – Political violence in Thailand forced the postponement of two events at Bangkok’s Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
The Thailand Golf and Dive Expo 2010 and Wonderful Thailand, an exhibition for the nation’s travel agent industry, were moved from their May 20-23 dates to July 8-11, according to N.C.C. Exhibition Organizer Co., Ltd. (NEO). While the convention center itself had been spared any damage from the rioting as of May 19, NEO said the events were postponed due to safety concerns.
Last year, the Thailand Golf and Dive Expo drew more than 192,000 visitors, NEO said.
Clashes between Thai troops and the “Red Shirts” spiraled into serious riots that resulted in fires at several bank branches and other buildings in downtown Bangkok. A nationwide curfew was put into effect.
The protests, which began in the Spring, quickly had an impact on Thailand’s meetings and convention industry. The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) told the Bangkok Post in late April that attendance at events was off already 23% for the year, with a number of corporate events cancelled. The bureau had earlier predicted a 25% growth in visitors.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand opened a 24-hour English call center for updates on the situation. It can be reached by international callers at +66 2652 8313. Otherwise, a government-imposed news blackout was in effect for the Thai media.