BANGKOK, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The tourism sector in Bangkok is setting up "Tourist Friends Centers" in key locations across the city on high alert ahead of the possible "shutdown" next Monday as anti-government protesters planned to bring the capital to a halt, local media said here on Thursday.
Delegates from tourism-related operations as well as officials from the Tourism and Sports Ministry, led by deputy permanent secretary Kajorn Weerajai, discussed the issue on Wednesday, looking for ways to help foreign tourists in case severe traffic brings any trouble.
On that day, 150 volunteers will be put in charge, while taxi boats that have the capacity to carry 200-300 passengers, as well as buses and vans, will be prepared to provide services in case of urgency.
Foreign tourists will be advised to avoid the capital when they arrive, and those scheduled to stay in Bangkok will be informed of the services on offer. Tourists will also be given 100 U.S. dollars a day if they missed their scheduled flight by more than eight hours.
Kajorn said he was not sure how long the centers would be able to provide these services, adding that the ministry planned to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis.
In addition, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the number of tourist arrivals would be affected if the protest continued.
TAT estimates the arrival numbers will decline by four to five percent this quarter, and the total number of arrivals this year would be 29.6 million, down from the previously projected 29.9 million.