Corporate groups are still welcomeThailand has long been a favoured corporate destination, especially for incentives. The death of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej, though after a long illness, has shocked the nation. The whole country, therefore, is in mourning. His Majesty, aged 88, had ascended the throne at the age of 18 after the sudden death of his older brother. He became the world’s longest serving monarch.
Many enterprises and associations throughout the world will have already made plans to organise or attend events in Thailand and may be wondering how the loss of a much revered Head of State will affect these plans.
The TCEB, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, has issued a helpful official government statement providing advice and guidelines for event organisers and all foreign visitors.
In brief, the message is: Continue with all plans as normal, but please recognise the feeling of grief amongst the Thai nation and behave and dress respectfully.
The Thai people will wear mourning of either white or black. This will not apply to visitors, but, obviously, subdued dress would be appreciated.
Special note from ITCM Director, Sydney Paulden I was very fortunate in being able to meet HM King Bhumipol Adulyadej personally in the 1980s and to travel with him and his retinue on a visit to the King’s Project in the north of Thailand. This activity was very close to the King’s heart, as it was assisting the northern tribal people to develop new, valuable crops that would replace any income they might have been gaining from the cultivation of opium poppies. It was also aimed at safeguarding the hillside forests, as their destruction was causing severe soil erosion.
I had breakfast at the royal summer residence near Chiang Mai, Phuping Palace, and then accompanied the royal family and retinue on a tour of the infrastructure that was being put in place, such as dams to provide water supplies for agricultural irrigation.
The King, who was actually born in the USA and educated in Switzerland, spoke perfect English and had a delightful sense of humour. He specially asked to meet me personally, so that he could, as he himself put it, ‘greet the English gentleman who, I hear, is travelling with us’.