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Open letter to the tourism authority and the Thai government

Open letter to the tourism authority and the Thai government

A German man staying in Phuket has made a plea to the Thai Government to understand how the ‘visa amnesty’ expiring on Sept 26 will force many foreigners currently staying in Thailand to return to countries where second waves of COVID-19 are rampantly spreading. Here is his open letter to the Thai authorities:

By The Phuket News

Saturday 22 August 2020, 11:41AM

People queue near an information board promoting free COVID-19 tests for travellers arriving at Berlin-Schoenefeld airport in Schoenefeld, south of Berlin, on July 31, 2020. Germany made coronavirus tests mandatory for travellers returning from at-risk areas, as fears grow over rising case numbers blamed on summer holidays and local outbreaks. Photo: AFP

People queue near an information board promoting free COVID-19 tests for travellers arriving at Berlin-Schoenefeld airport in Schoenefeld, south of Berlin, on July 31, 2020. Germany made coronavirus tests mandatory for travellers returning from at-risk areas, as fears grow over rising case numbers blamed on summer holidays and local outbreaks. Photo: AFP

This open letter is a request and also a cry for help. My name is Bernhard Stoever. I am one of the many long-term tourists who have been lucky enough to be able to extend their stay in Thailand since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. I firmly believe that this saved many people’s lives!

Thanks to the prudent Thai policies, the first wave of global contagion was combated in an exemplary manner. For that, too, I and all “stranded” would like to thank you very much. And, of course, we would like to especially thank the Thai people who have received us with such indescribable hospitality.

Thank you so much Thailand!

However, the expulsion on September 26th hits us particularly hard. I would like to use my example to show you what this change does in individual cases. The same applies to many “stranded” people.

I am a writer, 68 years old, live in Hamburg and am currently in Phuket. Everything is fine with me in terms of health. Nevertheless, I am extremely endangered in Germany. Every year in autumn and winter, Germany and Europe are attacked by a dangerous flu virus that makes millions of people seriously ill and kills tens of thousands, mainly among the elderly. And the course of the disease becomes more severe from year to year. Unfortunately, I am very susceptible and get the flu every year. It was particularly bad three years ago and I almost died from it.

So I decided to spend the winter in Thailand, which I learned to love a long time ago. Here I don’t get any flu and live healthy. But the Covid-19 virus changed a lot.

Phuket Property

The second virus wave is now looming in Europe and Germany and will be probably even worse than the first. Together with the flu virus and the high age of most returnees, this means a huge risk for many people. And I too admit with discomfort that if I have to return to Germany in September, I may never see Thailand again. For me, as for many others, it is really a matter of life or death.

My big request to you: Is it perhaps possible to issue a provisionally residence permit for the “stranded”, so that they can determine the return flight themselves? Or is it possible to make repatriations dependent on the danger that exists in the home country. Nobody wants to die in a corona hot spot.

Perhaps a small argument that counts is that we behave in accordance with the law, adapt to the Thai conditions, have a very good relationship with the people, pay our rent regularly, eat out and make contributions to the community like all others .

In these difficult times all have to stick together even more than before. And if you give us the chance also we “stranded” will do our part.

Bernhard Stoever, Phuket

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Svcoquette | 27 August 2020 - 14:11:13

Many foreign yachts are stuck here in Ao Chalong with no place to go.

Svcoquette | 27 August 2020 - 14:03:06

Kurt, ALL ports in Malaysia (and Indonesia) are closed to foreign yachts due to the virus.

Kurt | 27 August 2020 - 08:02:44

@Svcoquette, I am sorry to hear that. How about Malacca and Georgetown ( Penang) ?  Yachts need ports, loading water, food supplies, maintenance, etc.

Svcoquette | 26 August 2020 - 18:25:23

Kurt, that's outdated info. Yachts are being turned away approaching Langkawi. Recently friends were able to anchor at Kuah Langkawi and were boarded and given 24 hrs to leave Malaysian waters and were not allowed to leave the boat even to buy food.

Bernhard | 26 August 2020 - 14:06:41

TH Okay, play with me a round golf in phuket country club. You can´t? To expencive? And if you can read, not only giving stupid comments, then google my name. But who are you? What are you doing

Kurt | 26 August 2020 - 07:26:41

@Svcoquette, Can't stay, can't depart? With a Thai Immigration- and customs clearance you can leave Thai waters any time. Some Malaysian ports accept foreign yachts to anchor in their waters and go through a Q-time period with yellow flag in top,  before mooring is allowed. Flag state of your vessel can be a issue. Look into the Pilot Volume of Malaysia.

TH | 25 August 2020 - 11:24:21

letter of a German-Hartz4-"writer", slimy!!

Lu | 24 August 2020 - 14:27:08

This will Not happen

Kurt | 24 August 2020 - 14:01:26

@ Cinders, flu vaccines not always work as it is not known on forehand that it is the right vaccine. My mother took many years a flu vaccination, prompt got yearly flu. Once she stopped with this vaccination she never got flu again until she died at age 98.( and not due to flu!)

LALALA | 24 August 2020 - 12:26:20

Pascale...i totally agree with dony worry you will get your vaccination soon.

Kurt | 24 August 2020 - 09:40:03

Perhaps Thailand, with a overwhelming amount of different visa types can introduce a temporarily 'Covid-19 Visa' for foreign people who are presently here with short term visa? Until the Pandemic is over? Thailand has nothing to loose with that, as all these foreigners spend their money here, what helps locals as well a bit the coming time that as from abroad no tourists are coming.

Robertquack | 24 August 2020 - 08:34:18

This man is a cheapskate!. Why does he not get a Retirement visa?. 
Of course........everything should be free!. Put your hand into your pocket like the rest of us!

Cinders | 23 August 2020 - 20:47:19

Why not get a flu vaccine in Germany?

Pascale | 23 August 2020 - 19:00:01

Poor Harald,still seeing conspiracies everywhere and still believes that the Flu is the same as Covid19.  I'm sure there is a cure for you.Till then try to relax and take a deep breath,your meds are probably already on the way.

Svcoquette | 23 August 2020 - 14:40:12

We are Americans with tourist VISAs. We arrived at Phuket on our sailboat from Malaysia. We wish to return to Malaysia but cannot as like Thailand Malaysia has closed its ports to arriving foreign yachts. Come 26th Sept we cannot leave and we cannot stay. USA embassy will not issue extension letters. I would think Thailand would be happy for foreign tourists to stay and continue spending money.

kpc2020 | 23 August 2020 - 13:45:52

Totally agree with Mr. Stoever. As an American I share the same situation, going back to U.S. at the moment is dangerous and maybe fatal. I humbly request the Thai authorities to extend Tourist visa for us until it is safe to leave for home or neighboring counties.

Kurt | 23 August 2020 - 08:40:56

Perhaps mr Stoever can change his staying the other way around. Get a  Thai Retirement extension through the Visa procedure , live permanent on Phuket and go Summer months to Germany? Many retirees here only go home country during respective Summer times. Perhaps that is a solution? Of course this year, due to Covid-19, is visiting home countries a big problem .

Christy Sweet | 23 August 2020 - 08:15:38

Thailand would be served well by a grandfathering in of O visa holders for 6 months, or even a full  year as this SARS outbreak may well last that long.  Most expats will spend money with services that pay Thais- laundry, restaurants, house keepers,  massages, etc., etc.  It's a good idea. | 23 August 2020 - 07:59:08

I agree, all foreign people who live in Thailand pay rent, eat at local restaurants  pay electric and water bills. We do this by bringing money from our home countries so each one of us injects new money into the system.

harald | 22 August 2020 - 21:35:23

what a jerk but almost tipical for germans today. i would bet he never knows is only a flu and not a flu killervirus. for shure victim of the german and thai media

ThorFinger | 22 August 2020 - 21:06:02

Wonderful heart-felt and respectful letter. I do hope it is listened to.

Winfield | 22 August 2020 - 20:27:35

For the sake of the local economy.....  Please let Bernhard and any other legitimate visitor - stay for now. Its a win win solution for all.

DeKaaskopp | 22 August 2020 - 20:10:01

An honest letter ! I would like to see that him or other people who appreciate life on Phuket are granted a further extension. If I compare Mr.Stoever with those serial complaining retirees on here,he definitely earns an extension.Good luck Sir !

LALALA | 22 August 2020 - 20:08:43

Why this gentleman not applies for a retirement Visa remains a secret for me. 

Foot | 22 August 2020 - 11:59:14

Thailand has been realistic and considerate to ex-pats and tourists during this whole pandemic.  I would hope it would continue with the patience, understanding, and flexibility it has shown these past six months.
This type of treatment will go much further with tourists than any of the superficial tourism promotion programs.


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