Saturday, February 27, 2021

Thailand considering ‘business bubble’ plan in bid to boost economy

Jul 02. 2020
Allowing business travellers entry into Thailand in the current pandemic situation must depend on how it can help the Thai economy, said Somsak Rungsita.
Allowing business travellers entry into Thailand in the current pandemic situation must depend on how it can help the Thai economy, said Somsak Rungsita.
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By The Nation

National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General General Somsak Rungsita said on Wednesday that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is now discussing accepting foreigners, both tourists (travel bubble) and business people (business bubble).

Although Thailand has started to allow entry to more foreigners, tourism under the travel bubble plan will not happen soon as many sectors needed to be prepared, especially while other countries are still facing rising number of Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, business people are being allowed in small numbers.

Foreign business people who do not have a work permit and wish to enter Thailand at this time, must apply for permission through relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of the Board of Investment (BOI) to be considered by a committee consisting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, BOI, and National Economic and Social Development Council.

The committee will consider the ability to control Covid-19 in the country of origin and the importance of the business to help the Thai economy recover.

The countries that have expressed interest in the business bubble plan include Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China. Business people from China will be considered according to the province they come from, and people from all provinces will not be allowed. Business people who are allowed entry must strictly follow regulations.

"In allowing entry for businessmen, we must see how they can help boost our economy. If they don’t drive business a lot, then we shouldn't allow them since we can’t endanger public health. To take the risk, it must be truly worth it," said Somsak.

When allowing foreign business people to enter, strict virus inspection is required by testing for Covid-19 three times: at the point of origin before boarding; checking on arrival in Thailand, and checking before leaving Thailand.

People travelling to work in Thailand for the long term must have positions or a duty to be done in Thailand, they must be experts, and they must have a work permit. They must test for the virus before travel, get a medical certificate and have an insurance covering medical treatment in Thailand.

Business people travelling to Thailand for 2-4 days for a meeting or business contacts, who cannot quarantine for 14 days, would require special surveillance measures. The procedure is to have the responsible department contacted by the business person, for example, BOI to propose the name list to the committee. In the case of infection, the business person will have to bear all medical expenses.

Medical tourism is open but not for the treatment of Covid-19. Patients and dependents travelling to receive medical treatment in the country must first check for the Covid-19 and follow the same rules as a business person. Also, the patient has to be in the hospital for at least 14 days to treat other diseases.

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