Such tourists will be exempt from 14-day quarantines, but will be restricted to visiting specified areas, Mr Phiphat said yesterday (July 14), reported state news agency National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT).
The three pilot areas to be proposed to Cabinet will be all Southern Thailand provinces: Phuket; Krabi, especially Phi Phi island; and Surat Thani, especially Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan islands.
In order to be permitted to join a ‘Travel Bubble’ tour, foreign tourists must be tested for COVID-19 before coming to Thailand and again when arriving at airports, Mr Phiphat said.
Foreign tourists wanting to stay longer than 14 days will be allowed to visit other areas in the country after staying in their initial destination area for 14 days without exhibiting any signs of infection, he added.
Mr Phiphat also noted that the national domestic tourism campaign, launched through the ‘We Travel Together’ web portal under the ‘Tiew Pan Suk’ (Travelling Shares Happiness) government initiative, is expected to “take around a half of the B18 billion budget given by the Cabinet, as most people will not book room that charge the full B3,000 a night.”
“We will propose that Phase 2 of this project use the rest of the budget,” he added.
“The tourism goal for this year is to generate around 6-7% of GDP, or around B1.23 trillion,” Mr Phiphat said.
“We expect to generate B700 billion from domestic tourism in the last quarter of this year, and a further B596 billion from foreign tourists,” he added.
However, when or whether or not such “travel bubbles” will be permitted was a decision beyond his authority, Mr Phiphat noted.
“That depends on whether the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior choose people’s safety and security or economic recovery,” he said.