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Phuket Opinion: A pain in the ‘Pass’

PHUKET: The response by the Thai tourism machine to the “issues” with the Thailand Pass scheme launched on Monday, threatening to derail travel plans of hundreds, if not thousands of potential travellers to the country, has been appalling.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 7 November 2021, 10:00AM

The first page of the Thai notice explaining the Thailand Pass requirements. Image: MFA

The first page of the Thai notice explaining the Thailand Pass requirements. Image: MFA

Anucha Nakasai, the Minister attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, admitting that there had been “some issues” with people registering through the Thailand Pass website, in order to be issued a permit to enter Thailand as a tourist, had been “noticed” was the first recognition that anything had gone wrong with the registration web portal.

Announcing that the issues had already been addressed, when the Department of Consular Affairs’ own Facebook page was still being flooded with cries for help from people still trying to register, was just insulting.

It was difficult to tell whether Tanee Sangrat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director General of the Department of Information and Spokesman, announcing on Thursday that the MFA had approved 12,607 of the 65,338 Thailand Pass applications from 9am Monday (Nov 1) through to 8am Thursday (Nov 4) was gloating, or just further insulting those still trying to register.

At an average 21,779 applications received per day, in just three days the MFA already had a 17,000-plus backlog of applications growing per day. Well done. Unless the whole world misunderstood PM Prayut’s globally announced message in June, they had 120 days to prepare for this.

Worse, what was not revealed in those numbers was how many of those approvals were of travellers who had applied for a COE (Certificate of Entry) under the previous entry-permit system but were told to wait for the Thailand Pass system to launch. Those applications should have simply been rolled through.

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We are hoping that officials are aware of the the time constraints they have imposed on themselves. They wrote and introduced the entry rules requiring that all travellers when applying for a Thailand Pass must submit a “medical certificate with an RT-PCR lab result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected issued no more than 72 hours before travelling.”

However, all travellers are also asked to “allow 3-5 working days for the approval process”. This applies for tourists arriving under the ‘Test & Go’ scheme, and those arriving under the ‘Blue Zone’ Sandbox scheme, and for the Happy Quarantine nationwide scheme for unvaccinated travellers. How it is possible to comply with both conditions we are still waiting to hear.

Mr Tanee mentioned that the issues were “mostly due to external interferences”. That does not displace the fact that announcing only to the Thai media – not to the tourists who are actually applying for the Thailand Pass – that there are any issues with the system is disgraceful.

If it is a matter of saving face, officials at this level need to grow up, admit whatever has happened – including sabotage – and tell people what is being done to fix the problem. However, it seems they were too busy with the fanfare trumpeting the launch of the system.

As many observers have pointed out, the handling of these “issues” only sends the message that this is how much these people care about tourists who actually want to come to the country to spend money.

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Taswegian | 09 November 2021 - 10:42:32

We now have a travel bubble with Singapore and some Pacific nations. This gives us virtually the same freedom to travel as pre-covid. Until travel to Phuket opens without onerous restrictions I think we will go to Singapore instead. Shame.

Dick | 09 November 2021 - 06:04:20

Looks like Thai authority wants to capture the tourists that got covid, send them to hospital to rip them off.  That's why they insist on insurance, insist on SHA hotel that link up with a hospital.

So 'medical tourism' as TAT loves to put it is the priority; genuine tourism comes next.?? Their action certainly creates that impression..haha

christysweet | 08 November 2021 - 17:35:27

All breeds of mammals have strengths and weaknesses- and so do humans. Who is to say a complete  void  of an ability for future thought  is a lesser state ? Less worrying for sure. 

christysweet | 08 November 2021 - 17:32:40

All these barriers and snafus are quite deliberate to encourage use of agents who then share their fee with Immigration officers. 

christysweet | 08 November 2021 - 17:29:51

It's not race, but tropical heritage. No need to plan when food is abundant year round so the brain has evolved  differently.

Kurt | 08 November 2021 - 17:27:50

What is it Government all the time blocks a restart of tourism by idiot not needed CoE, now Thai Pass? Why is a passport, a return ticket, a proof of full vaccination, a registration in international yellow vaccination book, a international QR code, a PCR test before departure flight to Thailand not enough? Unbelievable, how Thai themselves block tourist revival. Is there any thinking?

Dick | 08 November 2021 - 09:28:57

JC sounded a bit racist with his last comment??!!

Dave_C | 08 November 2021 - 09:24:48

Is it any wonder that Thailand is the laughing stock of the travel industry when so many barriers are put in place for the genuine visitor.

They have had many years to achieve competence with the 90 day notification but just cannot do it.

Perhaps hiring professional IT personnel would be a start but then they too would also have to contend with all sorts of irrational decisions.

Dave_C | 08 November 2021 - 09:19:20

The Digital Government Development Agency = incompetence.

 What digital agency -

1. Posts documents in PDF format and only accept returns in JPG.

2. Does not make provision for variance in Passport Number formats.

3. Does not test presentation in popular browser formats.

4. Fails to test functionality.
This Agency has a long track record  of incompetence causing stress and loss 

JohnC | 08 November 2021 - 07:46:15

What is wrong with this country is that can't ever admit when they are wrong or have messed up. Too busy trying to cover up their embarrassment and loss of face with lies or staements that make no sense rather than stand up and tell the truth. I guess you have to be born Asian to understand this mentality. 

Westsail | 07 November 2021 - 18:20:43

You are not required to submit the RT-PCR lab result when applying for the Thailand Pass.  That must be done before you travel, but is not part of the initial application.

Rooboy | 07 November 2021 - 12:52:23

I tried to register 3 times from my mobile phone but failed, then I tried using my desktop computer and it worked first time. 3 days later I received pass.


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