BBCs Thailand video slammed by expats and tourists

Published:  18 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Thailand
The BBC’s tourism video on changes in Thailand since the King’s death last Thursday is being rejected and ridiculed by expats and tourists in the country.

Uploaded onto Facebook last Saturday and slammed by netizens as misleading and inaccurate, it was viewed over 2.3 million times before being withdrawn. Aimed mainly at tourists planning to visit the Kingdom in the very near future, it started by warning Thailand at present is not as much fun as in the past.

Phrases such as ‘it might not be what you’re expecting’, ‘a night out might be tricky’ and ‘booze will be hard to buy’ are being criticised as unrepresentative of the present situation. The showing of the video prompted a storm of online criticism from expats as well as from tourists already in the country and even from local Thais.

One furious Thai lady took the broadcaster to task, saying first that the coverage was misleading before laying out the real situation. Her first point was that the one-year mourning period only applied to government and state officials, who were asked to wear black/white clothes for the period whilst the rest of the population, including expats, were advised to wear grey, dark-toned or black in public for as long as they wished.

The official country-wide mourning period is set at just 30 days, with tourists requested simply to respect Thailand’s customs and the feelings of its people during the time of mourning, and to wear more sombre clothing if they felt they should. The thorny and often misrepresented question of zero alcohol availability was swiftly dealt with by the Thai government, with purchases only disallowed between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m, as has been the law for years.

It’s true that some nightclubs, bars, events, concerts and other entertainments have either closed or been cancelled as they fell within the 30 day mourning period, but many in the tourism areas are staying open. The Thai islands’ full-moon parties are cancelled for now, but it’s expected they will come on stream again for the winter tourist season.

Thai TV has been severely restricted since the King’s death was announced, but is now allowed to operate more freely, although the main provider, True Visions, seems to be reluctant to screen Western programmes until the 30 days are up, causing ructions in the expat community. Even so, news channels including BBC World and CNN in addition to documentary programmes and cartoons are being streamed.
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