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William Heinecke penned the following below in an open letter in the Bangkok Post the other day. Mr. Heinecke is the CEO of a major Thailand-based tourism company. I wanted to respond. One does not need to be targeted to be harmed. I'm sure the two children who died in the Big-C bombing were not targeted. I know he wrote this before the Big-C bombing, and I'm not trying to sensationalize what I'm saying, but when violence continues to show a pattern of escalation, innocent bystanders can and do get hurt. Declaring Thailand safe because tourists are not targets is not doing anyone any service. Richard Barrow has been doing the same up until today too. All of his messages are that things are safe as long as you avoid protest areas. I'm glad that Mr. Barrow has finally decided to begin advising people that they may want to skip Bangkok. https://twitter.com/RichardBarrow/status/438442149919457280 But "safe" is not binary. It is not black or white. Safe is relative. Safe is something you measure on a scale of 1 to 10. The ambassadors that Mr. Heinecke is trying to appeal to understand that because they work in security where threats and risks are measured on a scale. They issue travel advisories and travel warnings when risks rise above an acceptable level. If you read the US Embassy's travel warning for Thailand there is nothing said that is factually incorrect. http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/021414_thailand_travel_alert.html I've read similar advisories from other embassies and they all pretty much follow the same procedure. One also needs to keep in mind that his words appear alongside people cautioning about the outbreak of civil war or a bloody coup in Thailand. However likely or unlikely either of those scenarios are, the fact that locals are talking about the possibility of them happening doesn't really sound like what most people would consider to be a "perfectly safe" place to travel to. That's a debatable statement that Mr. Heinecke provides no proof for. How is a advisory that is factually correct unnecessarily severe? If Mr. Heinecke disputes the facts contained in the travel advisories then he should stick with those facts and ask that the embassies revise their advisories to be more factually correct. While it's unfortunate that many Thais have been impacted by the political unrest going on, tourism is not an entitlement. Nobody should be duped into taking risks they are not willing to take just so the local people in Thailand don't suffer any financial hardship. If someone is uncomfortable with the level of risk in Thailand right now, that is their prerogative and it would be much more comforting if people like Mr. Heinecke understood and addressed their reservations rather than trying to downplay the risks. This is like saying that I should buy an inferior product because the people who make it will suffer financial hardship if I don't. Mr. Heinecke seems to misunderstand the first rule of salesmanship, it's not about what you want, it's about what the customer wants. I think it's also worth pointing out that when tourism is doing well in Thailand, tourists aren't cut many breaks. Weren't Thai authorities recently considering a 500 baht tourist tax? The difference, Mr. Heincke, is that demonstrations like the ones happening in Bangkok are unlikely in Washington or Paris. I'm pretty sure there's a protest in Washington at least every day. Same with London, Frankfurt, or Paris. But, protestors rarely get into gun battles with police. They rarely plant bombs. They rarely throw grenades or explosives into crowds. Protests are rarely moving mobs of people who pop up here and there and thus are unpredictable in terms of where the protest areas are. The bottom line is that demonstrations in Washington and Paris are fairly tame in comparison even if the passions are equal. Police in most western countries are well trained and no demonstration would go on for the length of time the protests in Bangkok have been going on. Protesters would not be allowed to dig in and create an entire support infrastructure (food, sanitation, etc) so they can protest indefinitely. Just like when the Yellow Shirts took over the airport years back. I can't think of a single western country that wouldn't have brought that situation to a close and restored airport operations in a few hours. And that's why Bangkok can't be compared to western countries. The governmental institutions that ensure an orderly society are not on par with western countries. When protesters, yellow or red, can take over major parts of a city for weeks or months on end and the police and the military sit back and do nothing, can they be relied on to protect innocent tourists who may find themselves in a dangerous situation? Those conditions mean that the government has lost control of those areas. Should something happen to a tourist, the government can do nothing to help them. The protestors control entire sections of the city. I've been in Thailand for both the yellow shirt protests (when they captured the airport) and the red shirt protests in 2010. I lived in an area (Ratchaprasong) that was completely under red shirt control. There were no police. There were no emergency services. I had to pass through checkpoints, armed by red shirt guards, to get back to my apartment every night. This simply would not happen, nor be tolerated in Washington or Paris. To make the comparison is to utterly misunderstand why the embassies have issued travel advisories. Specific areas that change frequently. http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/396181/an-open-letter-to-ambassadors-based-in-bangkok.