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Call for tourist booster shots as Chinese return

Call for tourist booster shots as Chinese return

BANGKOK: The Tourism and Sports Ministry hopes to offer COVID-19 booster shots to tourists and Thai tourism workers in preparation for the return of Chinese travellers.

tourismCOVID-19ChinesehealthVaccine
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 29 December 2022, 11:02AM


People receive COVID-19 vaccines at Siam Paragon on Dec 20. Local authorities are trying to ramp up vaccinations for tourists and tourism workers. Photo: Somchai Poomlard / Bangkok Post

People receive COVID-19 vaccines at Siam Paragon on Dec 20. Local authorities are trying to ramp up vaccinations for tourists and tourism workers. Photo: Somchai Poomlard / Bangkok Post

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said this would be a worthwhile investment as vaccine prices are now lower, at around a few hundred baht per shot, reports the Bangkok Post.

Mr Phiphat said if the average tourist spent B40,000, with 7% value-added tax collected from that expenditure, the value would exceed the vaccine prices.

“It will create a good image for Thailand as we are ranked among the top nations for healthcare security,” he said.

Mr Phiphat said the Tourism and Sports Ministry would work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Public Health Ministry to explore the feasibility of this idea.

If the government approves the scheme, it should allocate funds to the Public Health Ministry to purchase vaccines, he said.

Mr Phiphat said the Tourism and Sports Ministry will also ask the Public Health Ministry to prepare booster shots for employees in the tourism sector before the first Chinese travellers arrive.

Related authorities should help publicise health and safety measures to tourists, employees in the service sector and locals, encouraging them to wear masks and beware of risks, he said.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association, said although there is no update on allowing outbound leisure tourism from China, such a move is expected soon.

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He said the first batch of Chinese tourists in Thailand are expected at the end of the first quarter.

Mr Bhummikitti said Chinese New Year next month might be too early for this group to take overseas trips, as there are widespread COVID-19 outbreaks on the mainland right now.

He said certain issues needed to be remedied in Phuket before tourism revives, such as labour shortages in spas, hotels, airlines and immigration offices.

Both the public and private sectors should work together to increase flights connecting to major cities in China, said Mr Bhummikitti.

He said the Tourism Department should speed up the renewal process for tour guide licences and prepare digital payment technologies and Chinese-language signs and instructions to facilitate visitors from the mainland.

At present, roughly 60% of private operators in Phuket are back in business, said Mr Bhummikitti.

He said 20% of suspended businesses could reopen if Chinese tourists return.

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Kurt | 30 December 2022 - 11:03:52

JohnC, Probably Thai Officialdom warned Thai for incoming money making tourist waves, did advice their nationals in Thai tv programs, Thai newspapers/internet  to continue wearing a mask, as we see all Thai do so. :-)

JohnC | 30 December 2022 - 09:13:13

Why Thailand chooses not to screen incoming flights from China is purely out of greed. Bring us in MORE MONEY! Most other countries have announced they will do so but, just like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Thailand chooses to say and do nothing to upset their real masters; Bejing and Moscow. At least bring back compulsory mask wearing for some form of protection for locals.

Kazumi | 30 December 2022 - 08:23:38

Considering the current situation in China, the United States and Japan are cautious about allowing Chinese people to enter the country. Currently in China, a strong toxin Covid is spreading and many people are dying. Thailand should not let Chinese people into the country now.

Old guy | 29 December 2022 - 12:55:12

Remember, the Chinese Sinovac vaccine which was given to most Thais and all Chinese is only 50% effective. Unless they've received many boosters, they aren't protected. 

Paddy | 29 December 2022 - 11:16:49

Keep them out would do more for "The image of Thailand" , have they not done enough harm already . A flight to Milan the other day , 52% had COVID . They will not be staying at my place for dam sure.

 

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