Thailand Tourism soon reopen its doors to international tourists
Thailand’s Tourism plans to reopen to international tourists are gaining momentum as the country has successfully controlled the second wave of the virus.
Last week, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ordered officials to review vaccine passports for international travel after noting that the tourist-dependent country is prepared to lift the two-week quarantine for vaccinated visitors.
The local tourism industry wants mandatory quarantines lifted from July 1 so the country can open up to millions of potentially vaccinated travelers.
Thailand managed to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 infections at the beginning of the year, and its total number of cases is relatively low, around 26,000, with 84 deaths.
A successful reopening of Thailand could prompt other tourism-dependent nations to follow suit, although the World Health Organization warned this week of the risks of easing restrictions too quickly.
“A gradual reopening, accompanied by appropriate precautionary measures, will undoubtedly save businesses and jobs and strengthen the economy,” said John Blanco, managing director of the luxury hotel Capella Bangkok.
“Given the global dynamics of immunization, it would be wise to start planning the necessary steps.”
Tourism is essential for Thailand’s economic recovery
Thailand’s central bank says that tourism, which accounted for about a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product before the pandemic, is key to getting Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy growing again. Thailand’s GDP contracted 6.1% in 2020, the highest rate this century.
While the country has made some efforts to reopen its borders to international tourists, strict quarantine rules have kept most of them out.
A petition to reopen the country in July
William Heinecke, president of Minor International Pcl, which manages 500 hotels around the world, is leading a campaign to ask the government to reopen the borders starting in the third quarter, after the pandemic forced the closure of hundreds of hotels and tourism businesses.
“The current situation is unsustainable,” says the online petition, which brought together nearly 6,000 signatories in two days.
“The reopening on July 1 would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to demonstrate its leadership among Asian countries and pave the way for a strong recovery of the Thai economy in 2022.”
Vaccine passport: cooperation is necessary
The Prime Minister warned against the hasty issuance of vaccine passports and called for better coordination with other countries. The European Union is still a few months away from issuing the Covid-19 immunity certificates, and Britain is not expected to complete a review of “Covid status certification” until June 21.
Thailand, which has started rolling out the vaccine, aims to vaccinate at least 50 percent of its population by the end of the year. Vaccines are also planned to be distributed to tourist spots like Phuket and Koh Samui for a wider reopening. The government has eased travel and business restrictions after controlling a recent outbreak of the virus. But having bypassed a national lockdown to deal with the resurgence, Thailand may not return to zero cases anytime soon, according to Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University School of Medicine.
“Finding a way to reopen the country to tourists is as important as planning vaccine distribution,” said Somprawin Manprasert, chief economist at Banco de Ayudhya Pcl, “the sooner the country can reopen to tourists, the sooner the recovery will be.” The second wave only delayed the recovery, instead of derailing it, “he said.” Although we are still in the dark, there is light at the end of the tunnel. “
Minister of Health presents vaccination passport
Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul took to Facebook to show what he hopes all Thais will soon have in hand.
The passport is officially titled “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis” and has parts in English to facilitate international travel. Every Thai who has been vaccinated will receive one.
On this basis, local media said that the opening of Thailand was “imminent” and quoted the minister as saying that soon, for Thais, everything would be “relatively normal”.
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