Business groups are advising Australians in Thailand to remain cautious after the military seized control of the country last night, but are also suggesting it will be “business as usual”.
Robert Taylor, joint national president of the Australia Thailand Business Council, told SmartCompany Australians who regularly do business in the country should check with the relevant authorities for updates.
“The most important site we recommend people go to is Smartraveller,” he says. “There are certainly some restrictions and curfews outside of Bangkok where Australian businesses do business. But it’s more a question of personal safety.”
Taylor said if you’re trading with businesses or organisations in Thailand there could be some disruption, but “generally these things sort themselves out”.
“In the last three protests some of the retail sectors of Bangkok were affected because of the crowds,” he said. “But in terms of manufacturing, operations would be going as normal.”
Last night the Thai military announced it had taken control of the country. A nationwide curfew is currently in place from 10pm to 5am.
Government travel advice website Smartraveller is advising Australians to exercise a “high degree” of caution in Thailand due to the possibility of civil unrest.
“You should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks,” the government website reads. “Travellers should have passports and tickets with them when travelling to and from the airport.”
A spokesperson for travel security risk company International SOS said non-essential trips to Bangkok should be postponed and those already in the country should “minimise movement” and have their evacuation plans in place and ready to go.
In a statement yesterday, Eliza Murray – regional security manager for the Asia-Pacific region – said organisations with offices in Bangkok should ensure they are able to locate and communicate with all staff in the country.
“Martial law has restored order after months of disruptive and violent protests in Bangkok as the pro- and anti-government groups have been confined to separate areas,” she said. “Shops and tourist sites are still open, transport is still running, however, the situation remains unpredictable and requires close monitoring.”
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok are operating normally and the military curfew does not apply if travelling to or from an airport.
* This story was updated at 2.20pm AEST on Friday, May 23 to incorporate new information about the situation at hand.