Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports has reassured the travel trade that the country is a safe place to visit despite ongoing political unrest that has plagued the country.”Thailand has encountered problems before, and has bounced back, and will do so again,” said H.E. Chumpol Silapa-archa, speaking at a press conference on day one of Arabian Travel Market (Tuesday 4 May) in Dubai.”The majority of tourist areas are unaffected by the demonstrations and it is business as usual. “There are small pockets of demonstrators in Bangkok, and if these areas are avoided, tourists should encounter no problems. “Riverside hotels have been largely unaffected as have the popular resorts of Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui. We anticipate a resolution of the situation very quickly.”He added: “Thai people will work together to resolve the current situation and move ahead. Thailand’s tourism sector has proven its ability to bounce back in the past. Our tourism offering has many strengths and the things that make Thailand such an appealing destination for visitors from all over the world are still in place, and I am confident that Thailand’s tourism sector will quickly recover and rebuild once the current situation is resolved.” The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has also announced several measures to aid tourism following recent political unrest and demonstrations:These include the continued waiver of tourist visa fees valid until 31 March 2011; reduced aircraft landing and parking fees in Thailand; and a free insurance scheme for foreigners visiting Thailand in the event of disaster.The newly elected Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor, Suraphon Svetasreni, told media that in his new role he would focus on “digital marketing, brand image, sustainability, crisis management and responses as well as closer co-ordination between the public and private sectors”.”I strongly believe that if the first 50 years of tourism development focused largely on maximising the economic returns, the next 50 years will require an equivalent focus on minimising the ecological impact of tourism,” he said.