Tourism minister points out strict caution on reopening

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn (Photo: Nation Thailand)

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

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

“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.”

Chinese tourists applied for the STV were scheduled to enter Thailand via Suvarnabhumi airport on Oct 20. They’re all required to go through a 14-day quarantine at an ASQ facility in Bangkok.

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

Meanwhile, the group from Scandinavia remains confirmed for their arrival on Nov 1. But since the 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.

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

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

Phiphat said he will discuss a plan with the prime minister soon to let tourists receive a 40% subsidy on tour packages, set at 5,000 baht per person per trip, in November.

“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.

Original writer: Dusida Worrachaddejchai
Source: Bangkok Post