Israeli travelers unfazed

Despite state of emergency in Bangkok, Israelis aren't canceling their plans to visit Thailand.

thailand beach 88 (photo credit:)
thailand beach 88
(photo credit: )
Despite the state of emergency in Bangkok, Israelis are not canceling their plans to visit Thailand, and industry insiders are reassuring them that they have nothing to fear. Mark Feldman, CEO of Jerusalem's Zion Tours travel agency, says that while he has received dozens of e-mails from people concerned about the situation in Thailand, none have dropped their trip. The Foreign Ministry, however, has issued a travel advisory to the area. Feldman says that if Israelis feel uncomfortable staying in Bangkok, they should go to the mountains or islands. Dov Kalmann, a representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Israel, issued a statement saying that the conflict is taking place away from the areas of travel interest. "All transportation, central business and shopping districts are continuing to operate smoothly. There is no curfew imposed in the city. The prime minister is simply trying to prevent more than five people arranging to meet with political intentions," Kalmann wrote. According to Feldman, about 100,000 Israelis visit Thailand each year, and more than 10,000, many of them recently demobilized soldiers, are expected to spend the High Holy Days there. Guy, 24, dreamed of exploring Thailand after completing his mandatory army duty. He has spent the past month there and is returning home Wednesday, unrelated to the political situation there. He is staying at the Chabad House in Bangkok, where a hum of Hebrew and laughter is heard in the background. All of the travelers are relaxed, continuing their trips without concern. "It`s so normal here, you don't even know," he said. "No, we don't feel any danger. I have witnessed no violence." South Korea and Singapore, among other countries, have issued travel advisories urging citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Thailand.