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Tourism minister raises caveat on reopening

Tourism minister raises caveat on reopening

BANGKOK: All tourists coming to Thailand via the Special Tourist Visa (STV) in the first phase must be 100% clear of the coronavirus or the reopening plan will be scrapped indefinitely, says Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

tourismCOVID-19Coronaviruseconomicshealth
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 10 October 2020, 12:04PM


Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn at a meeting in Bangkok yesterday (Oct 9). Photo: MoTS

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn at a meeting in Bangkok yesterday (Oct 9). Photo: MoTS

He said that if the scheme sees no infections for the first groups in October and November, fears about a local spread will subside, reports the Bangkok Post.

“Before we approach the second stage on Nov 17, which aims to shorten the quarantine period, we must evaluate the first phase,” Mr Phiphat said. “If there’s even a single case, we cannot continue to the second phase.”

Tourists from China applied for the STV and plan to enter Thailand via Suvarnabhumi airport on Oct 20. They are expected to go through a 14-day quarantine at an alternative state quarantine facility in Bangkok.

“The Chinese group previously set as the first batch to arrive via Phuket airport is rescheduled to Oct 26 to preserve the local confidence during the vegetarian festival of Oct 17-25,” Mr Phiphat said.

A group from Scandinavia remains confirmed for entry on Nov 1. But because that group includes tourists from Denmark, which reported an increasing number of infections lately, the ministry has to coordinate with the Foreign Ministry again on how to decide on the issue.

To settle similar dilemmas in the future, the Tourism Ministry may propose that the Foreign Ministry consider eligible tourists based on city, instead of using a country-based list, as some countries have a wider area where some cities have remained clear of the virus for over 100 days.

If the first phase of reopening reports no new cases, the Public Health Ministry will consider reducing quarantine to the appropriate level again.

CMI - Thailand

Mr Phiphat said he would like to propose a “7+7 plan”, whereby tourists are kept in their room for seven days, then allowed outside the room but still within the hotel area for another seven days.

The ministry plans to incorporate tour operators in the domestic stimulus scheme by asking them to arrange weekday tour packages for travellers aged between 55 and 75.

Mr Phiphat said he will discuss the idea with the prime minister soon to let tourists get a 40% subsidy on tour packages, capped at B5,000 per person per trip, in November.

He said the Association of Domestic Travel can propose to the ministry if they want to extend the target to all tourists regardless of age.

“The new measure will support more stakeholders, such as local operators, bus operators, restaurants and tour guides who suffered the most from the tourism slowdown,” he said.

So far, B5 billion of the budget for stimulus projects has been used, leaving B14bn for other schemes.

 

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Kurt | 10 October 2020 - 21:42:25

The personal  Officialdom desk messing around is not of any help for the people on Phuket. It must be depressing for the present Phuketians that not only the rain but also their Thai leading Officials keep each other busy instead of caring for the people here and make the sun shining again. A shameful doing of full paid Officials with nothing to worry with their daily full bellies.

Kurt | 10 October 2020 - 21:31:48

NSC Chief: No tourists until after 25 Oct.  Palin Chucholtawan: Reopen now or face collapse. Medical Chief: Backs reopening now . 
Tourist Minister raises caveat on reopening. Hey, it's the highest time that all Thai Officials among each other sett a 1 direction thinking and executive that.
Stop this confusing personal 'whirlpool' doings. 1 Government, 1 direction. Stop messing aroun...

Paddy | 10 October 2020 - 12:41:05

" keeping the virus out " I meant , sorry.

Paddy | 10 October 2020 - 12:39:27

If they are really serious about keeping the virus a good start would be keep the Chinese out forever.

 

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