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THA president backs safe and sealed tours

THA president backs safe and sealed tours

BANGKOK: Newly elected Thai Hotel Association President Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi backs the plan to introduce a trial of “safe and sealed travel” this October, reports Don Ross of travel and tourism news portal TTR Weekly.

tourismeconomicsCOVID-19
By TTR Weekly

Monday 24 August 2020, 10:54AM


Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, the newly elected President of the Thai Hotel Association. Photo: TTR Weekly

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, the newly elected President of the Thai Hotel Association. Photo: TTR Weekly

The government-backed pilot project will focus on Phuket allowing tourists to visit the island via strictly controlled and isolated transfers that will see travellers quarantined in hotels for 14 days before they are allowed to travel freely on the island. They will be allowed to stay for 30-days with public health officials providing surveillance and testing, Mr Ross reported today.

Plans are unfolding led by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the country’s Ministry of Public Health to ensure the project lives up to its name ‘Safe and Sealed’.

Asked for a comment, the THA president said: ” I fully agree. The private sector has had the opportunity to share thoughts regarding unlocking travel at several forums. The government has been very inclusive in this process… I think that no matter what the restrictions will be, we have to start somewhere. October will be a good time to begin.”

The country’s travel and hospitality industries have their back to the wall facing financial ruin if the ban on international leisure travel to Thailand continues to the end of the year.

“The hotel industry cannot persist much longer without opening our borders to travellers,” the THA president warned in response to TTR Weekly‘s questions. “Less than 50% of all hotels have re-opened, most are running at single-digit occupancies. Some are considering re-closing because of low demand.”

Looking forward over the next two months she underscored the urgency.

“It is imperative that we start to allow general tourists to travel to Thailand, albeit with restrictions and strict guidelines. While protecting the health and well-being of local residents needs to be our government’s prime concern, we also have to change people’s sentiment toward foreign travellers.

In reference to studies that showed more than 90% of Thais objected to opening the door to foreign tourists, while COVID-19 remains a threat, she pointed out that the chance of someone carrying the virus was extremely low if visitors were screened before travelling to Thailand and tested after arrival during the 14-day quarantine.

Property in Phuket

“Thailand has been extremely successful at managing the outbreak, but we also have to realise that realistically, we cannot sustain a zero risk. There will always be risk and error. We just need to manage and keep those at a minimum.”

THA initially focused on securing financial support for the hotel sector by obtaining social security aid for staff for three months and also negotiating electricity cost reductions for hotels.

Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic back in March, the THA board worked closely with TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn in identifying financial needs to the banking sector, especially to help SMEs survive during the crisis.

“Hotels are still a viable business,” she noted. ” We are just facing temporary set-back due to the pandemic. We have to ask what more can we do to help owners keep employees and survive financially through this tough period?”

She points out the responsibility of banks saying they need to play a role in recovery by recognising the plight facing the hotels and hospitality sectors. 

“Banks need to be more lenient with soft-loan financing. Perhaps the government can set up a fund to assist the hotel sector with short-term financing?” she concluded.


Don Ross is the Managing Editor of TTR Weekly. Email donr@ttreport.com

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Nasa12 | 26 August 2020 - 20:13:58

Well she are the eldest daughter of hotelier Kamala is executive vice president of the family-owned Sukosol Hotels. 

Kurt | 25 August 2020 - 12:15:09

This quarantine periods make as a start up that the bulk of tourists, from China, are not coming. Their holidays are shorter than 14 days. hehehe. Let's face it, after thinking through this, quarantine thinking.,it is just filler to keep the Thai shop, restaurant, hotel owners, transport sector quiet. Give them a false outlook 'from 01 October', and delay financial aid programs for the...

LALALA | 25 August 2020 - 11:03:57

Despite the fact that this scheme will not work at all I agree with everything as long it increases the chance for a one way flight BKK-Almaty.

Galong | 25 August 2020 - 08:55:20

If anyone was willing to put up with the absurd 14-day hotel prison stay, they would only be helping the hotels.  This does NOTHING for tour operators.  If I was considering visiting Thailand and was told my firts 14 days would be captive in a hotel, I'd simply pass. I think most people would pass. Either open or don't open. Those are the options. Pass the covid test and get to travel, per...

ericphuket | 25 August 2020 - 08:52:24

Another dreamer, how is it possible to believe that people are waiting to travel to Thailand to be locked up 2 weeks. That lady has not morè brain then the Bangkok puppets in charge.

Edward Reumann | 25 August 2020 - 00:22:47

Let's hope the Thai Government takes this seriously.  Investigating the true origin of the Wuhan virus and the negligence of the Chinese to not warn the world of it's existence.
They do not respect humanity and would have no second thoughts about sending infected tourists to Thailand,  thus started yet another wave of the pandemic. We'll see what speaks louder, Health of the Thai peop...

 

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