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Phuket tourism leaders unite: End ‘vaccinated only entry’ for all countries

Phuket tourism leaders unite: End ‘vaccinated only entry’ for all countries

PHUKET: Key tourism figures for Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi and even Koh Samui have united in their call for the government to revise its decision to enforce a “vaccinated only” policy for all international arrivals entering the country.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 8 January 2023, 11:12AM

The formal request, addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chna-o-cha. Image:  Supplied

The formal request, addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chna-o-cha. Image: Supplied

A formal request addressed to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha was signed and delivered on Friday (Jan 6). A copy of the formal request was sent to The Phuket News.

The request, titled ‘Measures for accepting foreign tourists’, was copied to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul.

Also copied on the formal request were Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

The request outlined the series of events that led to the formal request. “China has changed its policy to control COVID-19, causing Thailand to issue measures to accept tourism, for which the government holds a policy of equality in all nations, not discrimination,” the request noted.

The request marked that as a result, the Ministry of Public Health had issued the following guidelines:

  1. Travellers must receive at least 2 doses of COVID vaccine.
  2. If the country of origin has a condition for a negative RT-PCR test before returning, travellers must purchase health insurance that provides comprehensive treatment for COVID-19.
  3. Travellers are advised to protect themselves during their stay in the country, for example by wearing a mask when in public areas and while on public transport, and by washing their hands often.
  4. If a traveller experiences respiratory symptoms, they are to test themselves by ATK [antigen test kit] and if the symptoms become more severe to present themselves to a hospital for medical examination and treatment
  5. It is recommended for travellers to stay in SHA+ hotels for those who want to do an RT-PCR test before returning to their country.

“The private sector understands the aforementioned guidelines and government concerns. The private sector is particularly concerned with Measure 1, in the implementation and review process that travellers are required to receive at least two doses of vaccination due to this measure ‘Applies to all travellers’,” the letter noted.

“The private sector has been approached by a number of foreign tourism operators who expressed concern over such measures, which will increase the difficulty of travelling [to thailand]. causing the current main tourist groups to decide to cancel their trips to Thailand and choose to travel to another destination,” the letter said.

“The main countries that travel to Thailand, such as European countries, Russia, Australia, have lifted the COVID-19 measures altogether. Moreover, the escalation of such measures will cause countries to worry about Thailand’s reverse measures that will apply to all countries. This will affect confidence in tourism as a whole,” the letter continued.

“The private sector therefore proposes that the government change its policy, limiting the mandatory 2-dose vaccination [requirement] only to those who travelling from countries with mandatory RT-PCR measures before returning to the country (as in measures Item, 2), as countries that still perform RT-PCR testing before entering the country may still be concerned about ongoing outbreaks in their areas,” the formal request said..

“Please refrain from the 2-dose vaccination requirement, since in most countries that do not have those measures the epidemic has passed and has become an endemic disease that is not being monitored, and most of the population has already received more than 2 doses of [a] vaccine.

“Currently, the country’s tourism sector has recovered more than 70%  compared with 2019, which will be an important engine in driving the economy. The private sector urges you to reconsider such measures to speed up building confidence [in Thailand’s tourism industry] as soon as possible,” the letter concluded.

The letter was signed by:

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam
- Advisory Chairman, Phuket Tourist Association

Thanet Tantipiriyakit
- President, Phuket Tourist Association

Rattanada Chuban
- President, Phuket Health Spa Association

Suksit Suwanditkul
- President, Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter)

Supattra Jaruariyanon
- President, Patong Hotel Association

Angkhana Thaneswisetkul
- President, Kata Karon Beach Hotel Association

The formal request included the logos of more than 14 key tourism-related industry organisations, including:

  • Phuket Tourist Association
  • Tourism Council of Phuket
  • Phuket Hotel Association
  • Phuket Travel Agents Association
  • Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter)
  • Phang-Nga Tourism AssociationKrabi Tourism Association
  • Krabi Hotel Association
  • Tourism Association of Koh Samui
  • Phuket Real Estate Association
  • Private Educational Association of Phuket
  • Andaman Guide Association
  • Health & Wellness Phuket Spa Association
  • Phuket City Development Foundation (PKCD)

Comment on this story

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BrianinKathu | 09 January 2023 - 14:53:52

It is easily noted that the only people calling for "no vaccine" are those who are greedy above safety

JohnC | 09 January 2023 - 08:23:49

As clueless and greedy as all others in positions of authority in this country. These individuals make people lose confidence in Thailand's tourism industry.

Thaibart | 08 January 2023 - 19:20:33

What madness. Do you want your hospitals full and do you want to keep vaccinated people away. I have had 5 vaccinations and still picked it up in Phuket but fortunately as I had been vaccinated it was very mild. 

cyberspider | 08 January 2023 - 18:07:57

Damage was already done, tourists from distant countries usually plan their trips months in advance and such erratic changes in entry policies make people to look elsewhere when choosing their destination. In many countries here in Europe, there is even problem to find a place where they still do covid PCR tests. I would have to travel about 100km roundtrip to get it. 

Old guy | 08 January 2023 - 13:34:49

After 3 years of Covid controls, these individuals show they haven't learned a thing. They all should find work elsewhere. 


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