The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has said that it will do its utmost to ensure tourists are not affected by plans by anti-government protestors to shutdown Bangkok next week.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which is behind the planned shutdown, aims to mobilise 35,000 people from the south to close down as many as seven key locations in the capital on January 13 in a bid to force the end of Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration.

Shinawatra has said the government is ready to declare a state of emergency if necessary.

TAT has promised to place 150 volunteers in tourist help centres across the city to support foreign visitors caught in heavy traffic disruption caused by the scheduled protest rally.

Furthermore, it will advise tourists to avoid the capital when they arrive, while those scheduled to stay in Bangkok will be informed of the services on offer.

TAT noted that if the protest continued, the number of tourist arrivals would be badly affected.

It predicts that arrival numbers will drop by 4-5 percent in the first quarter of the year, and as a result, the total number of estimated arrivals would be 29.6 million this year, down from the 29.9 million projected previously.

Earlier, Bangkok city authorities instructed 146 schools to close on January 13 because of the shutdown.-VNA