Thailand’s foreign tourism industry is set to fly again: All foreign tourists need now is a resumption of the nightlife scene and the sale of alcohol to bring back the good times for Christmas and New Year’s in Thailand. Based on the PM’s statement on Monday night and today’s breakthrough move, there is hope despite the significant threat that still exists from this virus and the need for Thai officials to move carefully. Today’s announcement coupled with the PM’s TV address on Monday evening shows a willingness to allow small business owners and normal holidaymakers to get back to their lives before Covid 19.
Thailand’s foreign tourism industry could be finally heading for revival with news on Thursday that the Certificate of Entry system is to be abolished allowing users to self verify to the kingdom’s Department of Disease Control while uploading their documents including a health declaration to fly into Thailand on commercial passenger flights which are due also to be expanded.
Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a breakthrough announcement which, combined with the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday night, represents a definite milestone for foreign tourists which they have been waiting for since April 2020.
The deeply unpopular Certificate of Entry process is to be abolished and replaced with a new web-based ‘Thailand Pass’ process which has been worked on by the Ministry of Public Health and other government departments for some time.
Biggest barrier to foreign tourism has just been knocked down opening up 85% of the market again
Thai Examiner polls had shown that the burdensome and demanding process which often took prospective visitors weeks to fulfil accounted for 85% of people interested in visiting Thailand being put off.
Its abolition will most likely result in a surge of interest from holiday markets from November 1st and until the New Year as Covid 19, while still representing a health threat in most countries, is being countered by overwhelming vaccination efforts aimed at making the disease endemic.
TAT boss now confident 700,000 passengers possible
The Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has already upgraded his estimate of arrivals in 2021 from 100,000 to 700,000 based on the new situation that is evolving.
On Monday night, the Prime Minister mentioned a more liberal regulation on alcohol sales and the prospects of Thailand’s famous nightlife being reopened but this appeared to be ruled out by the top tourist agency executive in reports on Wednesday.
Many western tourists to Thailand and small business owners may prefer instead to take the PM at his word.
Such a prospect would certainly switch back on the bright lights of foreign tourism in the kingdom in short order.
Normal punters before 2020 spent more than the Phuket Sandbox high rollers in the opening months
Based on expenditure levels from 2019 when compared to the Phuket Sandbox scheme, normal holidaymakers spent more than the Phuket Sandbox scheme visitors from July 1st to the beginning of October this year.
This is despite claims that the programme was attracting higher-spending visitors to Thailand’s shores. It was not.
Tourism Authority of Thailand figures show the average spend for tourists in Phuket this summer was ฿47,619, 14.01% of which went on medical costs such as tests while in 2019 the average punter from abroad spent ฿49,700 according to the Thai government’s official data.
The total income reported for a three month period was ฿2 billion in Phuket which was less than 2% of what was achieved in the pre-Covid era for the island.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed the new ‘Thailand Travel pass’ scheme which will be ready for November 1st for those flying in
On Thursday afternoon, Mr Tanee Sangrat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the new system which will allow passengers to file their documents online will be in operation before the now highly significant November 1st reopening.
Users online will be able to file the well known T6 Immigration form together with a T8 declaration outlining their vaccination status.
The news coincides with an announcement from Thai Airways of a rapid escalation of flights between Thailand and Europe from November 1st in anticipation of a resurgence in demand.
The Certificate of Entry will remain in place for those entering the kingdom by land and by sea.
Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman's issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand's growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.
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