It's considered to be bad form in the tourism industry to promote a destination in a rival country when a neighbor is experiencing a disaster, either man-made or natural.
Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen is quoted in The Star Online, a Malaysian news outlet, as saying that given its proximity to Thailand, Malaysia could offer a good alternative to tourists planning to visit Bangkok that would allow them to continue their holidays instead of cutting them short.
The report starts off by saying that ''the Tourism Ministry is working closely with local and foreign tour operators to lure Malaysian and foreign tourists looking to cancel their trips to conflict-torn Bangkok.''
The minister said her department had learned that some foreign tourists currently in other parts of Thailand, like Phuket or Southern Thailand, also planned to cancel their scheduled trips to Bangkok as a result of the current situation.
''We will be launching the Colors of Malaysia 2010 event at Dataran Merdeka on May 22 and this will be another good attraction that we can offer such tourists,'' she told reporters on Sunday.
She told The Star that the military 'lockdown'' in the heart of Bangkok that has sparked fierce clashes with red shirt protesters has alarmed Bangkok-bound tourists.
Travel alerts for the whole of Thailand have caused cancellations, even though Phuket remains a safe destination and is 10 hours by road from Bangkok.
As occupancy rates slump, and with jobs under threat, discount deals are being offered by four-star and five-star resorts on Phuket and around the Andaman region.