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Tourism and Sports Ministry looks to China tour bubble

Tourism and Sports Ministry looks to China tour bubble

BANGKOK: The Tourism and Sports Ministry is hoping for a travel bubble with China as a New Year’s present for the tourism industry, planning to welcome them as the first group without a mandatory quarantine during Chinese New Year.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 6 November 2020, 09:19AM

Chinese tourists visiting Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. Photo: Patipat Janthong / Bangkok Post file

Chinese tourists visiting Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. Photo: Patipat Janthong / Bangkok Post file

The ministry will hold a meeting with the Chinese embassy to discuss the travel plan, while the foreign ministries will continue the discussion about the next phase, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, reports the Bangkok Post

There are 22 low-risk provinces in China, containing a population of 800 million, that have reported no new local cases for more than 150 days.

He said a tourism bilateral agreement would need to be finalised by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The ministry has not received any new entry requests via the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme for November, with several European countries returning to lockdowns.

During the mobile cabinet meeting in Phuket and Koh Samui, Mr Phiphat urged operators to contact long-stay regular guests to enter the country. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will facilitate the STV process for them, he said.

The ministry is also in talks with the foreign ministry about tourists from Switzerland who would like to travel via Thailand Longstay Company under the non-immigrant visa O-A for retirement.

“The number of international arrivals will not reach 7 million this year,” Mr Phiphat said.

However, he said inbound plans will move forward despite problems gaining confidence from local communities.

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To offer more alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) options, the Tourism and Public Health ministries will introduce a golf quarantine to attract golfers from Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea, who normally train in Thailand for a few months in the winter.

Golfers spend on average at least B3,000 per person per day for golf programmes, excluding accommodation and food, said Mr Phiphat.

Out of 238 golf courses with 5,000 rooms nationwide, the ministry expects 20-30 to join the scheme, which is expected to start by mid-November.

There are five golf courses in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Saraburi and Kanchanaburi, as well as a golf course in Nakhon Ratchasima owned by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, which passed inspection and are ready to serve as ALSQ.

ALSQ golf operators have to transfer existing members to other courses and be responsible for golf expenses. All staff also have to complete a 14-day quarantine before leaving their posts.

The golf quarantine idea still needs approval from the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration next week, along with additional measures for domestic stimulus campaign, such as increasing the government’s subsidy during workdays to 50% from 40%, launching e-vouchers for spas, car rental or transport costs.

Mr Phiphat said weekday tour packages for the elderly aged 55 and above will be included in this scheme too by using the B5-billion budget.


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Kurt | 07 November 2020 - 09:31:05

Of course no receiving of new STV applications for November. This whole STV thing fade away even before it really start working as Tycoons designed it. And: Moving inbound plans forward despite problems gaining confidence/support from local communities? That is how money making mechanism works here. Over the head of locals who are more and more  protesting in media/ at streets.

Kurt | 07 November 2020 - 09:12:51

Seems health Minister has plenty of free time during this pandemic period to 'manage'  his own 5 golf course businesses, all ready to serve as ASLQ. Now we know for what his previous visits  to Phuket were for. How nice to have the power to combine government business with personal 'gaining pleasure'. Any more ministers have business on Phuket? In Property, perhaps?

goldwing | 07 November 2020 - 08:00:28

yes, the Chinese are all you will get, looking forward to the second wave

Capricornball | 06 November 2020 - 18:42:00

Oh about a bit of corruption right in your face! "There are five golf courses... owned by Public Health Minister... which passed inspection and are ready to serve as ALSQ.  This is the exact kind of thing that people are protesting about... wealthy officials making themselves wealthier while the common Thai continues to struggle.  Oh, the audacity of the elite class!

Fascinated | 06 November 2020 - 09:32:13

What a surprise that the Health Minister's golf course has 'passed' inspection. Talk about feathering one's own nest. No question of 'unusual wealth? 


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