During a Southeast Asian trip in 2012, former US President Barack Obama visited Bangkok to hold a bilateral meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and mark the 180 years of friendship between the US and Thailand. The visit lasted for less than 18 hours but Obama was able to make a courtesy call to the Wat Pho Royal Monastery before visiting the ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej in his hospital quarters.
After the long illness that kept the King of Thailand in the hospital, he passed away on October 2016. Thailand is still under the period of one-year mourning for the late King. The Thais grieved the death of their King and employees did not report for work. Hotels and businesses have to continue with their operations and did their best to temporarily fillin the positions with expats.
Many international guests who were staying at hotels have to be informed of the situation because in the modern world, leaders are not really treated with respect. Hotels were not really prepared for the situation because nobody was allowed to speak about the potential death of the Thai King. Guests received a letter from hotel management requesting them to be sensitive to the profound loss of the country and to refrain from merriment.
Hotels and resorts as well as some businesses continued to operate but have maintained a more conservative stance. Leisure and entertainment events were either cancelled or postponed for a later date. Advertising billboards were covered with black banner in remembrance of the late King. The Tourism Authority of Thailand gave the assurance that business is as usual.
The late King will be cremated on October 16, 2017, more than a year after he has died. The military government has announced that ceremonies will last for five days. Needless to say, the world will be watching and many travellers will be keen to personally watch the ceremonies.
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