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:
- Travellers must receive at least 2 doses of COVID vaccine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- Advisory Chairman, Phuket Tourist Association
- President, Phuket Tourist Association
- President, Phuket Health Spa Association
- President, Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter)
- President, Patong Hotel Association
- 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)