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Thailand mulls a four-phase reopening

Thailand mulls a four-phase reopening

BANGKOK: Thailand is cautiously heading to a phased reopening that is likely to kick-off this April but the doors may not fully open to welcome tourists until January 2022.

tourismCOVID-19economics
By TTR Weekly

Monday 15 March 2021, 09:53AM


A screenshot from the TAT’s latest international campaign to attract tourists, ’We Miss You’. Image: TAT

A screenshot from the TAT’s latest international campaign to attract tourists, ’We Miss You’. Image: TAT

Awaiting Cabinet scrutiny, the latest Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ staged recovery plan identifies four distinct opening phases starting with the “Wellness Leisure area Q and Hotel Q” due to start 1 April and continue to the end of May, reports Don Ross of TTR Weekly.

Wellness Leisure April to May

Five provinces are eligible for relaxed quarantine rules; Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani (Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha-ngan islands) Chonburi (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai.

Under its terms, visitors from the UAE, Israel, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and possibly India and Russia are lining up for less daunting quarantine rules. 

Groups of one to four tourists get to stay confined in their room from day one to day three, followed by restricted access to specified hotel facilities from day four to 14. Hotels must be certified, and the plan recommends that ” health workers and risk groups should be vaccinated in the five provinces declared suitable for phase one of the reopening.

Exclusive Travel Area June to September

The second opening phase, “Exclusive Travel Area (Sealed route)” covers the same source market countries and the five provinces in Thailand from June to September.

The proposed plan cuts quarantine to “10 days or less” with at least two PCR swab tests, one on arrival at the airport and two days before the 10-day quarantine ends. They are allowed access to an “area Q” at the hotel and activities organised by certified travel firms extend to other certified hotels close by and adopt strict travel bubble rules and social distancing.

Sandbox October to December

Travel still remains limited to the five provinces during the Sandbox phase that runs from October to December. However, the Sandbox phase ends the 10-day quarantine entirely replacing it with a one day quarantine while they wait for their PCR Swab test results.

Visitors will be eligible if they come from a country that has achieved a 70% vaccination of its resident population, rather than just the seven source markets named in the two earlier phases. Bilateral agreements with countries that have a low incidence and have vaccinated 70% of their population could be established during this phase to allow two-way travel.

MGID

The Ministry states 70% of resident populations in the five provinces should be vaccinated from October to December.

Self Quarantine January 2022 onwards

The fourth phase, named ”Self Quarantine Track and Trace” will open the travel door fully to all provinces across Thailand by January 2022 for vaccinated international travellers who pre-test negative before departure and have a “travel passport or vaccination certificate”. Eligible source market countries are those that have vaccinated 70% of their populations.

Mandatory measures such as hotel or area quarantine are history but authorities would still have the option to require a one-day quarantine on arrival while waiting for a PCR swab test result.

There is also a caveat that “most residents in Thailand will have been vaccinated by January 2022,” which will represent a major challenge for public health authorities.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health confirmed last week 30 million people should be inoculated by the year-end based on orders for 63 million doses. So far, it has vaccinated just over 44,400 people in high-risk areas around Bangkok.

The Ministry’s time-frame and staggered reopening are outlined in a 10-page PDF presentation presented to officials, police, tourist police and leaders of the travel and hospitality association that constituted semi-public hearing meetings in the five provinces last week.

On the sidelines of the Phuket meeting, a high ranking official shared the PDF with TTR Weekly and suggested two pilot projects involving an estimated 80 Russians could be initiated by the first week of April to introduce phase one, “Wellness Leisure”, to Phuket.

However, the entire four-phase scheme remains subject to review by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CSSA) and approval by the Thai Cabinet. Once those hurdles are crossed, the proposed ministerial regulations become active once they are published by the Royal Gazette.


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

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@johnmorris696 | 16 March 2021 - 03:07:54

Well if that's the case I.ll be booking somewhere else not Thailand the land of frunds

ematt | 15 March 2021 - 19:28:26

Another day, another useless post from Fascinated....

AusGaz | 15 March 2021 - 14:37:15

Kurt, you need to check your facts. You've been able to fly from Singapore to Thailand since December 2020

Kurt | 15 March 2021 - 10:52:43

Singapore already stated that it will not open for Thailand before January 2022.
S'pore and Australia are working out plans to partial open in a few months time for vaccinated people only.

Kurt | 15 March 2021 - 10:49:20

...new health director and got vaccinated before he could go for lunch.

Kurt | 15 March 2021 - 10:47:23

A long article. Long 'Non sayings'. Why not plain say, that opening up 1 October will not happen? By than are not enough people on Phuket vaccinated to have the island safe, beside them sitting in Provincial Hall. Comment is a bit 'raw', but look at history of all happening so far. Just words, 'planning' and paperwork. But a doctor arrives at Phuket as new health director, ...

Fascinated | 15 March 2021 - 10:24:12

April, October, January, what's next? Another day another scheme, another date. Realistically other countries are not opening their borders until 2022- what's the point of constantly building people's hopes up then changing?

 

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