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Thousands cancel trips over ’vaccinated only’ rule

Thousands cancel trips over ’vaccinated only’ rule

PHUKET: Thousands of tourists have cancelled their trips to Thailand due the new rule that came into effect at 1am today (Jan 9) requiring all international visitors to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country.

By The Phuket News

Monday 9 January 2023, 09:30AM

The formal appeal to revise the vaccinated-only entry rule. Image: Phuket Tourist Association

The formal appeal to revise the vaccinated-only entry rule. Image: Phuket Tourist Association

The Phuket Tourist Association confirmed the extent of cancellations in a formal appeal to revise the entry measure sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Saturday (Jan 7).

The formal request was also addressed to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

The request was signed by Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, Advisory Chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association, and Phuket Tourist Association President Thanet Tantipiriyakit.

“The Phuket Tourist Association has received contact and coordination from guided tour operators in many countries, in which all companies have shown are of the utmost concern regarding the changes to the entry policy,” the request noted.

Worrying reports had been received by tour and travel companies in England, Germany, France and Scandinavia as well as Russia, the letter pointed out.

In the 72 hours from Thursday, when the new measure was announced, through to Saturday, tour operators in Germany alone had suffered cancellations of thousands of room nights, the letter continued.

Another key concern was that as the new ‘vaccinated only’ rule was outside the tour operators’ refund policy, operators in all the countries contacted were now scrambling to find ways to provide refunds.

Tour operators in England complained extensively about the lack of notice given in introducing the rule, with passengers being refused onto the plane at the airport.

The operators said they had tried to find official information on government websites, but were not able to find any.

Tour operators in Scandinavia said they were unable to notify their customers in time, exacerbating the problem.

Tour operators in France were greatly dissatisfied with the change. Fly, a French travel agency, is seeking a way to have the rule change declared force majeure in order to cancel its tours to Thailand in the name of Thai political instability, the letter explained.

Tour companies in Russia were greatly concerned about the number of passengers who had booked holidays to Thailand but were not vaccinated.

“In addition, companies have sold prepaid packages, especially large operators that have entered into aircraft charter or purchased large numbers of seats from airlines in advance,” the letter said.

“Most of them are unable to travel to Thailand, which is causing great damage and impact on business. The requirements and Code of Conduct as an official document is needed, more than news from the media that may cause confusion and misunderstanding,” the letter continued.

“The operators said they had been Informed by the Russian Embassy in Bangkok that the announcement has not yet become official because [embassy staff] were unable to find official documents for reference,” the letter said.

“The Phuket Tourist Association is concerned about the situation. especially because tour companies have expressed dissatisfaction, and many tourists will be affected by the changing of the rules,” 

“Please Prime Minister, consider ordering as soon as possible to find solutions to problems and find a way out for the benefit to the country’s economy,” the letter concluded.

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harald | 11 January 2023 - 08:32:46

kamala by the way. these mass graves in brazil, which certain media showed to scare the naïve, actually show graves of victims of landslides and floods there. i found out about this from relatives in brazil, to whom i showed such photos. they laughed when I said they were referred to as covid victims and said certain media just as usual

DeKaaskopp | 10 January 2023 - 21:07:23

@Christy     Get a grip! You are not the only person living here.Not everyone has to care about you.Wear your mask if you feel so, but please give others their freedom to do what they like as long as it isn't against the law.

harald | 10 January 2023 - 17:26:59

kamala wrong. that was the then mayor at the very beginning in patong, who after testing and finding around 35 positive, but not finding any sick, said, stay calm, the little flu will soon be over. but i said it beforehand, when i heard all the experts talking about flu virus on tv in china and i thought to myself, i never put on a mask because of the flu and i don't get vaccinated either

christysweet | 10 January 2023 - 16:04:43

Don't tag me in BS comments until you can write coherently. 

christysweet | 10 January 2023 - 15:20:30

It's the ultimate in privilege when you can spew dangerous pathogens on others as your 'right'  Anyone w/o a mask  within 2 meters of me gets exaggerated  waving of a paper fan in their direction. So gross, they are worse than the unshowered. This  particle enters the eye  so large glasses are recommended.   

Kamala Pete | 10 January 2023 - 12:03:01

I think it was Bolsonaro who, like Harald called Covid "A Little Flu". However, he had a hard time explaining the huge number of mass graves suddenly appearing across Brazil. I'll be getting my mask out again as the influx of infected chinese gets going :(

JohnC | 10 January 2023 - 09:03:42

Heard on the news last night this 'new rule' has been recinded already. Now any unvaccinated a...holes can bring their diseases in with them. Can see who is the real power of this country; China's leaders!!  The utter stupidity and lack of any idea how to handle this situation clearly shows this current gov has to go. More interested in lining their pockets than the health of their cit...

Kurt | 10 January 2023 - 08:05:03

Anutin from his best flip flopping side. Funny thing is he gets away with it easy as no other governments were informed about the first decision (only travel world industry), so saved his face. He had Inter Governmental nothing to recall. But the damage is done, it will cost quality tourists and much trust in Thai Government, of what was left of it.

harald | 10 January 2023 - 07:15:45

christysweet. funny masks that don't hold back dust well. if i were afraid of covid19 and its variants, then a very, very expensive special mask that holds back viruses. but i've never been afraid of flu viruses and stayed mask-free and unvaccinated and joked about mask wearers and vaccinated people :-D

christysweet | 09 January 2023 - 18:34:33

Gawd this nation is a joke,  just completely lobotomized in the common sense department.  Reuters reports this rule just rescinded, now watch as it's reinstated in 2-3  weeks when the SARS-2  hits the fan. Anyone w/o a mask stay the F away from me.  

skorchio | 09 January 2023 - 17:13:18

LMAO - this was so obviously coming, a significant change to policy at a moments notice, with little advance warning, initially in THAI LANGUAGE ONLY, and affecting ALL visitors to Thailand. What could go wrong? Muppets ...... 

Situation could have avoided by simply admitting that the new rules are due to concern about rampant infection levels in China, and China's deeply disturbing failure...

harald | 09 January 2023 - 16:17:57

it's a good thing that the government in bangkok reversed everything relatively quickly, which should still annoy millions of tourists. the reason was certainly the information from the government in china, which said that some of us laugh at death, they hear, they have tested positive but feel nothing of it :-D

Paddy | 09 January 2023 - 10:01:36

The damage is already done to our tourism , these people who can't come because of the stupid mandates will never come back here again. Anutin is damaging the image of Thailand .


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