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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Misinformation about Chiang Mai

I found out recently that the Austrian government (along with a couple of others) issued travel warnings for Chiang Mai and Isaan but said Pattaya and Phuket were safe. It can’t due to the anti – government demonstrations here that have been totally peaceful because Pattaya and Phuket have had those as well. Presumably this is because there are Red Shirt activists here and in Isaan but not in Phuket or Pattaya.
Not only did they issue these warnings but there is no mention of it in any English language newspaper. My friend only heard about it because he has Swiss friends who had concerned phone calls from family back home after the warnings were issued there.
I find this rather amazing. Issuing travel warnings for a region solely because of the political beliefs of some and not due to any demonstrations or violence is extremely disturbing. Not only disturbing but damaging to Chiang Mai based on misinformation. Unearned misinformation so far.
Other governments have issued blanket no travel warnings for Thailand due to the protests in Bangkok while others have more wisely simply said, “These are the areas of protest, avoid these areas.” Friends who live in Bangkok report that mainly life and business goes on as usual in most parts of Bangkok. Even before the last few days of violence before His Majesty the King’s birthday people were able to process visas and reports at Immigration fairly easily.
But this is all really beside the point, the point is that some few governments felt the need to issue travel warnings for areas based on the political beliefs of some of the residents and not for any activity that may or may not have occurred. This to me seems very wrong. This is something that those governments need to assess in themselves and perhaps not only retract the warnings but issue a statement as to the incorrectness of their actions.
I realize I am dreaming and that this will never happen but wouldn’t it be nice if some common sense were applied by these governments instead of knee-jerk reactions? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone actually assessed the facts before issuing blanket statements? I am sure that won’t ever happen but like many other things in life, it would be nice and it never hurts to wish.

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Misinformation about Chiang Mai