A release issued by the group, campaigning under the theme #OpenThailandSafely, yesterday (Mar 1) said, “vaccines are a game changer that allow for the reopening of the country and for quarantine requirements to be dropped”.
The #OpenThailandSafely campaign was launched with the support of over 15 major companies including YAANA Ventures, Minor Group, Asian Trails, Capella Hotels and Resorts, EXO and many others.
“The Open Thailand Safely campaign has laid out its arguments in a petition which will underpin a formal request to the Royal Thai Government to respond favourably to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination programmes underway in Europe, USA and other Thailand tourism source markets,” the release noted.
“The petition is open to anyone in Thailand or around the world who would like to see the country reopen,” it added.
The release noted that the campaign argues July 1 is an appropriate date for five reasons: the majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then; it gives time to Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both front line staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and/or vulnerable citizens around the country; it gives international travellers time to make travel plans and bookings; the date gives time to airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales and get ready for tourism operations to commence; and it will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the COVID-19 crisis.
To ensure the safe reopening of Thailand, the petition argues that “international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai Government may require. This may, for example, include showing officially recognised proof of a COVID-19 vaccination from their home country, purchasing health insurance, showing proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure, and so on.”
#OpenThailandSafely was the initiative of leading Bangkok-based private sector travel companies YAANA Ventures, Minor Group and Asian Trails (see full list of signatories below).
Willem Niemeijer, CEO of YAANA Ventures, said: “The 1 July reopening would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to show a leadership role among Asian countries and prepare the way for a solid recovery of the Thai economy in 2022.”
In the coming days, the Open Thailand Safely campaign will also send the July 1 request to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
The release highlighted the damage done by policies implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“According to the Bank of Thailand and official sources in Thailand, tourism, pre-Covid, was worth about B2.9 trillion (US$96.5 billion). Some 39.7 million international visitors in 2019 helped sustain up to 8.3 million jobs. However, arrivals fell to 6.7 million in 2020 making between two and four million people unemployed.
“Meanwhile, destinations such as Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Sri Lanka have either opened borders already or are in discussions to do so in light of successful Covid vaccine rollouts in their key source markets,” the release said.
People can sign the petition for Thailand to reopen on July 1 at www.OpenThailandSafely.org
Full list of signatories:
Minor International, William Heinecke, CEO
YAANA Ventures, Willem Niemeijer, CEO
Khiri Travel, Herman Hoven, CEO
Asian Trails, Laurent Kuenzle, CEO
Smiling Albino, Daniel Fraser, CEO
Go Vacation, Christoph Mueller, MD
Destination Asia, Monique Arnoux, CEO
I Asia Group, Nick Critelli, GM
EXO Travel, Hamish Keith, CEO
Cape & Kantary Hotels Poomiphat “Tom” Navanukroh, Group Director
Capella Bangkok, John Blanco, GM
Skål International Thailand, Andrew J. Wood, President
QUO Global, David Keen, CEO
Experience Mekong Collection, Jens Thraenhart, CEO
Portier Technologies, Olivier Dombey, COO
ScottAsia Communications, Ken Scott, Founder