The New Year’s Eve countdown on Khao San Road will be cancelled in light of the current “fragile” mood, but entertainment venues in the popular tourist hangout will be open as usual, a local business leader says.
Sa-nga Ruangwatthanakul, president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association, confirmed the decision on Saturday.
He said that many government agencies had issued announcements asking for cooperation to refrain from holding special events or celebration activities on New Year’s Eve. Because the mood of Thai people was “fragile” at the moment, the association decided to cancel its planned countdown party on Dec 31.
He said he had already notified business operators on Khao San Road and nobody raised any objection. All shared the same view that it would be inappropriate to hold festive activities during this time.
While shops and entertainment venues in the popular backpacker district will be open as usual, there will no festive decorations like before, he added.
Mr Sa-nga did not specifically mention the condition of Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha, who has been in King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital since losing consciousness on the evening of Dec 15.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Friday that it backs New Year countdowns and celebrations going ahead as planned as long as the government does not order any cancellations.
Mr Sa-nga said a large balloon would be placed in the middle of Khao San Road for tourists to take photos, and video of countdowns in other countries would be projected for visitors to watch.
He believed the cancellation of an actual countdown would not cause a drop in the number of tourists as businesses would still be open to serve them. Bookings for accommodation in the area have been rising, he added.