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Private tourism sector wants govt to reopen country from July 1, submits plan

Thai tourism and airline businesses have urged the government to reopen the country from July 1.

The operators led by Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of Thai Hotels Association, met Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn to discuss the government's vaccination distribution plan and the schedule for reopening the country.

Private tourism sector wants govt to reopen country from July 1, submits plan

Global attention has now shifted to vaccinating national populations against Covid-19. Many countries, particularly in Europe, the Middle East, the United States and China began their vaccination programmes months ago. It is expected that up to 70 per cent of citizens in these countries will have been inoculated by the end of August. This trend bodes well for Thailand’s tourism sector, they said. According to a survey by travel agencies, many vaccinated tourists have expressed their interest to visit Thailand as soon as quarantine requirements are lifted. The survey results suggested that even if Thailand were to reduce mandatory quarantine to seven days, the shortened period would still dissuade potential visitors from travelling to Thailand, said Marisa.

Private tourism sector wants govt to reopen country from July 1, submits plan

She said the Thai tourism and airline sectors fully supported the minister’s “sandbox” policy of key tourism destinations to revive tourism and the economy. The group also submitted a plan for the ministry to consider, stating this is a pivotal first step to restoring the country’s economy.

▪︎Permit international travellers who have received Covid-19 vaccination to enter the country without mandatory quarantine, at least in the leading tourist destinations such as Phuket and Samui, starting from July 1.

▪︎Accelerate the vaccination of residents in leading tourist provinces such as Phuket and Samui to at least 70 per cent of total population between April 15 and June 30. Achieving herd immunity will enhance the safety of welcoming travellers from abroad. (Phuket Tourism Sandbox will be proposed to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday, and at the Cabinet meeting on March 30.

▪︎Allow the private sector to cooperate with the government in Covid-19 vaccine procurement from other sources, in order to acquire adequate vaccine supplies and expedite distribution throughout the country.

▪︎Prioritise the vaccination of approximately 1 million people in the tourism and service sectors (for example hotel staff and airline crew) within June, to ensure safety and enhance the confidence of both workers and visiting tourists.

▪︎Declare a concrete timeline and conditions for reopening the country to international travellers. Leading tourist destinations should be reopened first, aiming for a July 1 reopening. Target to reopen Thailand at large to vaccinated travellers from traditional feeder markets (i.e. through “travel bubble”) in time for the upcoming high seasons. A concrete timeline is necessary so that tourism service providers can effectively ramp up their services.

▪︎Approve the use of IATA Travel Pass, the mobile application that is most convenient for travellers, facilitates verification of Covid-19 vaccination certificates, and enhance safety by screening travellers according to global standards.

Published : March 26, 2021

By : The Nation