The Danish Consulate in Pattaya will be closed down on 10th March 2015. According to the Embassy, the closing is part of an overall adaption of the structure and tasks of the Danish Honorary Consulates. The demand for consular services have changed, and also new communication channels and technologies as well as new requirements such as bio-metric production of passports has influenced the tasks of Honorary Consulates.
The Danish Ambassador Mikael Hemniti Winther explains:
“Far most of the tasks that the Consulate is carrying out for the Danish people can be done by e-mail or by surface mail directly to the Embassy in Bangkok, and there is no need to go personally to the office or travel to Bangkok. With the requirement of bio-metric registration for obtaining a new passport, there would always need to visit the Embassy in Bangkok anyway.
The only slight inconvenience, the Ambassador can think of would be emergency passports and passports for children, where there will now be a need to travel to Bangkok.
“However last year we only received less than 20 in total for those two types, so it is hardly worth mentioning,” he adds.
The Ambassador thinks that the Danes in Pattaya will find that the Embassy will provide a quick and efficient service for them either by e-mail or normal postal services and with no need to go personally to the office.
“Danish people with more serious needs in terms of arrest, serious illness, or other needs for assistance, will receive the same assistance as in the past,” he adds.
Regrets the closure
Consul Stig Vagt-Andersen regrets the closure of the consulate which, in his opinion, hurts the weakest of the Danes living in the Eastern Seaboard area who regularly needs consular services. He adds, that as he has not been consulted prior to the decision there has been no opportunity for him to speak out for the Danish residents in the consulate district.
“Among the estimated 900 Danish visit, that we have had last year, 200 of them are pensioners on one year Thai retirement visa, whereof a quarter are an average of 75 years old,” says Consul Stig Vagt-Andersen.
“Besides our elderly Danes then families with young kids under 12 will also find it inconvenient to travel with infants to Bangkok to make their children’s passports.”
“Danish enterprises in the Eastern Seaboard industrial estates and shipping to Laem Chabang port will also be negatively affected as they no longer will have access to flexible consulate services locally. This will sadly create additional cost and loss of time for these companies”.
“I took the initiative to open the Danish consulate 16 years ago in Pattaya, with support of Ambassador Niels K Dyrlund, based on a clearly identified need for local consular services. At that time we reached the clear conclusion that the consulate offered both cost benefits and improved service levels.”
“Although we locally only have seen the need for consular services grow steadily year by year, we however, have to accept that we regrettably no longer will be able to provide these services,” says Stig Vagt-Andersen.