Plans to restart tourism to begin with bilateral tourism bubble agreements with Asian countries. The move is being pushed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha and the country’s Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. It is understood that passengers from selected countries who sign bilateral deals, will not be required to enter into quarantine on arrival in Thailand.
The Thai government has announced that it intends to give priority to Asian countries in the country’s plan to negotiate bilateral tourism agreements with other countries who have managed to control the Covid 19 virus. The new ‘travel bubbles’ were touted last week by the Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha and the boss of the Tourism Authority Yuthasak Supasorn. It has been confirmed that work is underway to allow the return of tourism in a controlled way in the second half of the year.
Thailand’s tourism minister supported by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha, has tasked the Governor of Thailand’s Tourism Authority to explore which countries in Asia may be suitable so that the country can enter into bilateral ‘travel bubble’ agreements on tourism.
The ‘travel bubble’ concept involves identifying countries with a good track record at fighting the Covid 19 threat and entering into agreements with them to allow for inbound tourism.
The plan is to have uninfected passengers arriving in Thailand without the need for quarantine.
Safe Asian countries in good standing with Thailand to be given priority access to the kingdom
Tourism officials have suggested that this activity may initially take the form of approved conferences and seminars in selected areas of Thailand.
Tourism Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, expects such talks with other countries to take place in July and the government has instructed that Asian countries with a good relationship to the country be given priority.
Thailand 14 days away from victory over Covid 19 but cases in quarantine highlight the danger that exists
The news comes as Thailand is now 14 days away from declaring itself free of the Covid 19 virus. The normal incubation period for the disease is 14 days but in exceptional circumstances, this can extend to 28.
All Covid 19 virus cases announced in the last two weeks have been from travellers returning to Thailand on Thai government repatriation flights.
This is evidence, say Thai authorities, of the real danger posed to the country if it lets its guard down by allowing passengers enter the kingdom from high-risk countries at this time without the stringent and rigorous controls now in place.
New Zealand is already free of the virus
It comes as New Zealand, and its popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that her country is already clear from the virus.
New Zealand has only reported 22 deaths from the disease during the pandemic.
Australia, which introduced strict travel bans earlier on, has also been fairly successful with reported cases now in single digits and with only 102 deaths.
Japan thinking of welcoming Thai tourists back
Thailand’s success at curbing the disease has been acknowledged by Japanese authorities who are considering the relaxation of travel restrictions to a select number of countries including New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand at this time.
Tourism Authority wants travellers to stay at home in Thailand with special deals for domestic tourists
However, Thailand’s Tourism Authority has other ideas.
The governor of the tourism promotion agency is floating the idea of converting Thailand’s growing middle-class market of outbound tourists into stay at home punters this year to boost the crippled tourism economy.
Seeking Thai travellers whose trips abroad have been cancelled because of pandemic restrictions
Yuthasak Supasorn points out that his body is aiming to convert half of the 12 million outbound tourists into stay at home tourists with attractive deals and offers from top-class hotels and airlines within the kingdom.
There is even talk of special deals for tourists who can show evidence of cancelled outbound trips because of the pandemic and government restrictions worldwide.
Talks are taking place between the tourism body and the industry to put meat on the bones of this proposal.
‘I’m confident that this scheme will receive good cooperation from top-branded operators, as now each of them will start to launch special packages to attract Thai guests,’ Mr Yuthasak said. ‘If 6 million of the outbound market is converted to domestic travellers, the number of domestic trips should be doubled because they might travel more than one time.’