The Telegraph
Saturday , May 24 , 2014
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Thailand coup puts dream holidays on indefinite hold
- Tour planners in twin cities report mass cancellations after army takes control in Southeast Asian nation

The military coup in Thailand has messed up Jharkhand’s vacation plans.

Two top Tata Steel officials, who were supposed to fly to Bangkok from Calcutta on Saturday, rushed to their tour agency Eastern Travels Private Limited in Jamshedpur’s Bistupur on Friday to cancel tickets.

Sunil Singh, a Jugsalai-based realtor who was looking forward to a week-long family holiday in Pattaya from Sunday, has cancelled tickets too. “It is unfortunate and sad. The children had summer vacation and the time was just right for a beach getaway. This would have been our first trip to Thailand and everyone, especially my son and daughter, are disappointed. God knows when our next chance will come,” he said.

Ranchi businessman Ashish Choudhary and his four friends were to fly to Bangkok this month-end. “Plans were postponed in a jiffy after the news flash on the coup. Fortunately, we hadn’t bought the tickets yet,” he said, adding that they were consoling each other saying that the weather in Thailand was too hot for holiday comfort now.

SOTC’s branch in steel city Jamshedpur confirmed nine cancellations on a single day while in capital Ranchi the tour and travel major has already halted bookings for Bangkok. E-Perk Holidays in Ranchi’s Bariatu is hard selling Singapore and Malaysia trips to clients while Cox and Kings is expecting to reschedule or cancel June packages for Thailand.

“Political instability has been Thailand’s grim reality for months now. On Tuesday, martial law was announced and Thursday saw the army coup. Summer fun has taken the back seat for holiday-makers,” said Rohit Sinha, international travel director and in-charge of Cox and Kings in Ranchi.

SOTC’s Ranchi head Anirudh Singh said the last batch of around 10 tourists had left for Thailand four days ago. “We spoke to them this morning and they sounded okay. However, we have made no fresh booking,” he added.

Singh’s counterpart in Jamshedpur Akhilesh Shukla said they cancelled nine tickets on Thursday after the news of the coup flashed. “Those who cancelled were waiting for hotel confirmation. So, will suffer minimum damage of around Rs 2,000 per head on tickets. We are expecting more cancellations in June,” he added.

A representative of Eastern Travels, not willing to be named, confirmed “quick cancellations of two corporate clients”, but refused to reveal identities. “We are five agents dealing with ticketing here. All are busy with cancellations since yesterday. At least 10 parties have shelved travel plans,” she said.

A rough estimate shows around 300 people from Ranchi and Jamshedpur visit Thailand, mostly Bangkok, every month. Sinha of Cox and Kings maintained the numbers include both leisure and MICE travellers, besides honeymooners. The figure is said to double in winter.

“We have a few departures scheduled for June. Let’s see if things normalise. If they don’t, trips will be rescheduled. Advisories from the Indian embassy apart, we too are telling people to avoid going to Thailand. But, young couples bank on Bangkok for affordable fun,” Sinha said.

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