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.
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.