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Hotels in Bangkok Thailand closed amid prolonged “red-shirt” rally


Several upscale hotels around Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection, where the red-shirted protesters have been based for more than a month, decided to close from Tuesday until April 25 for safety reasons.

The hotels included Grand Hyatt Erawan, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Centara Grand. All guests living in these hotels were asked to check out before noon.

Apart from security concerns, the cost reason was also considered an important factor for the hotel management to make the closure decision since they had to spend big for daily overheads but received fewer and fewer guests.

An earlier report by the Thai Tourism Association said hotel occupancy rate dropped below 30 percent in the country amid prolonged demonstration by the anti-government red-shirts. Hotels near the rally site suffered even bitter loss, with only a few guests staying.

The “red-shirts” started gathering at Ratchaprasong intersection rally site since March 12 and the place, which is home to Bangkok’s posh shopping centers and five-star hotels, has become the only rally site after red-shirted protesters abandoned another base at the Phan Fah Bridge.

Thailand has lost about 21.0-38.0 billion baht (US$ 649.76 million to US$ 1.17 billion) due to the red-shirted mass rallies, the National News Bureau of Thailand reported Monday.

It is projected for the whole 2010, there will be 12-13 million tourists’ arrival, lower than the previous target of 15.5 million.

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