The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is considering plans to attract foreign tourists back to Thailand, and may allow vaccinated foreigners to enter the country without the need for 14 days in quarantine on arrival.
The Tourism and Sports Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn,revealed today that the aim is to have 5-10 million foreign tourists enter Thailand this year, starting after the Songkran festival in mid-April, or in May at the latest. He added that, reaching the 10 million mark will depend on restrictions in countries like Malaysia, China and India.
The minister said that he will ask the prime minister for 5 million doses of anti-COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate people working in the tourism sector, with the main focus on Bangkok, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Songkhla, to build confidence amongst travellers.
Meanwhile, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yutthasak Supasorn, is seeking ways to attract foreign tourists to Thailand. One of their ideas is a “vaccine passport”, which can be standardised and agreed between the national touristorganisations in all ASEAN countries.
Those holding such a “vaccine passport” will be allowed to travel between ASEAN countries without the need to undergo the 14 day quarantine. The TAT governor also expects that foreign travellers will be able to come to Thailand by the third quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Minor International group of companies, William Heinecke, said that they will send an open letter to the prime minister, containing these 4 suggestions:
- Employees working in the tourism sector should be inoculated in the first phase, because flight attendants, pilots, hotel staff and staff working in hotels being used as quarantine facilities should be viewed as frontline personnel, just like medics
- The government should consider acquiring vaccines from additional companies, besides AstraZeneca and Sinovac, as the vaccine acquisition process is still slow and insufficient to inoculate the entire population
- 3. Those who’ve been inoculated should be able to travel freely, both domestically and internationally, without undergoing 14-day quarantine.
- Vaccine passports should be implemented, and Phuket should be the first province to implement the system, in order to allow foreign tourists to enter. If successful, other tourist reliant areas, such as Koh Samui and Pattaya, should also implement the system.
This article is taken from Thai PBS World