The Civil Aviation Authority is to begin talks this week to open outbound flights limited to business people while the Thai public gives the thumbs down to foreign tourism with 74% saying it will be at least one year before international travel into Thailand returns to normal. Another poll shows over 82% wanting to see pubs remaining closed at this time. The news and negative sentiment is rattling news for foreigners who regularly travel to Thailand or have links with the kingdom.
Opinion polls published on Sunday in Thailand will make dismaying reading for foreigners interested in travelling to the country over the next few months. The first was a Suan Dusit poll which showed 76% saying No to foreign tourism at this time. The same poll showed that a combined figure of 74% of respondents saw external tourism only returning to normal in Thailand in the next one to two years.
The Thai government made it clear this week as it announced the end of its curfew, that tough restrictions will remain on inbound travel into the kingdom. This comes even as the Civil Aviation Authority next week enters into talks with airlines in Thailand on the opening up of international outbound flights.
Such flights nonetheless will also be heavily restricted according to Chula Sukmanop, the Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority. He said only business travellers may be allowed to fly, in the initial stages, if plans to re-open proceed.
International flights, however, are landing in Bangkok under special arrangements with Thai authorities.
Thai public decidedly opposed to foreign tourism
This all comes as opinion polls published on Sunday show that the Thai public is decidedly against letting foreigners gain access to the kingdom again for tourism.
A commanding three out of four majority or nearly 76% answered ‘No’ when asked if Thailand’s borders should be open again to incoming foreigners.
The survey was conducted in the three days up to Friday the 12th of June as the Thai government floated proposals on travel bubbles with safe countries and began to consider the reopening of pubs and wet massage parlour venues as part of its fourth and final stage of the current domestic reopening process.
Only 24% wanted to open the kingdom’s borders
Only 24% of those who responded in the poll said the government should open the kingdom to foreigners to allow the country’s hard-pressed and suffering tourism economy to return to normality and begin generating much-needed income.
Thai public should be the first to enjoy the kingdom after the country’s lockdown says latest poll
Asked for the reasoning behind their answers, the poll threw up a figure of 54.39% of Thai people who indicated that Thais should have the first opportunity to enjoy the country after the lockdown period while 21.33% of respondents feared that incoming foreigners would spark a second wave of the Covid 19 virus.
The Suan Dusit poll had a sample of 1,116 adults from across the country and was conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in Bangkok.
Huge majority see tourism taking one to two years to get back to normal after the virus emergency
The poll had further bad news for foreigners thinking of visiting Thailand or even for those with connections to the kingdom who want to see the country open up to international flights including inbound and outbound travel.
A combined total of 74% said it would take at least one year for tourism to return to normal after the virus emergency with 32.7% suggesting it would be two years or even more.
A combined total of 67.3%, however, saw tourism activity returning to normal in the next six months to a year. The biggest block of respondents comprised 41.3% of those polled who said that it would take one year for this to happen while 25.9% envisaged 6 months.
A full 32.7% of people said the return to tourism normality may take two years or more with 20.52 % suggesting two years and 12.18% plumping for over two years.
Majority of the public no longer in fear
Another poll on Sunday did seem to indicate that the public was less in fear of the virus with nearly 52% responding that they did not now worry about the threat.
Only 33.29% of people surveyed had some concerns with a further 12.91% expressing real fear of the threat.
This opinion poll was carried out by NIDA or the National Institute of Development Administration on June 8th and June 9th with a sample size of 1,270 made up of Thai people over 15 from a range of educational backgrounds and socio-economic levels.
Huge 82.2% majority want to see pubs and entertainment venues remaining closed for now
The poll showed a sharp level of opposition to the reopening of public bars or entertainment venues with 82.2% opposed alongside nearly 79% of who wanted to see massage parlours remaining shuttered.
The opinion polls and recent government pronouncements suggest strongly that the Covid 19 virus has resulted in a shift or change in conditions for many western foreigners who travel regularly to Thailand which will extend at least into the next six months and possibly longer.