Saudis violate Thailand travel ban

Updated 24 July 2013
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Saudis violate Thailand travel ban

Saudi citizens have reportedly broken a travel ban imposed on Thailand since 20 years ago by traveling through indirect flights on Gulf or foreign airlines, local media said.
Hotel bookings and organized trips were processed by local travel agencies but without official clearance from official governmental departments, Al-Riyadh daily reported.
Many people who are preparing to travel to Thailand during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday know nothing about the penalties awaiting them if they go to Thailand, including a financial penalty and a two-year travel ban based on a decision made by a committee at the Passport Department.
Traveling to Thailand is no longer confined to tourism, but expands into medical treatment, particularly in the field of orthopedics, as well as businesses covering the importation of clothes, accessories and electrical appliances, which necessitates reconsideration of the ban to meet the needs of citizens in terms of business, medical treatment and tourism, the paper said.
It is to be recalled that the negligence of Thai authorities to investigate a number of security cases, where some Saudi citizens were victims, led to the deterioration of relations between the Kingdom and Thailand for more than 20 years.
The Kingdom clearly asked Thailand to achieve justice in these cases in accordance with international treaties and conventions.
Since then, the Saudi Embassy in Thailand has spared no efforts in urging Thai officials for an end to all such cases in order to restore diplomatic and business relations between the two countries.
On the other hand, a traveler who goes by the nickname Abo Hussain, said he went with his family to Thailand for medical treatment due to the availability of international hospitals and professional medical experience at affordable prices, which explained the existence of a large number of GCC citizens there.
Husain Munawir, a tourist, called for the introduction of a new system for travel to Thailand, as some citizens have interests and relatives in that country.
Elias Siyaman, a tourist company representative, said there is clear growth in the number of Saudis tourists, where they come in fourth place among Gulf tourists. They travel through the closest airports to Bangkok. A large percentage of Saudi nationals come for tourism and 70 percent are single.