Government think tank says vaccine rollout vital to tourism recovery

PHOTO: Wikimedia

The National Economic and Social Development Council says the recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector is heavily dependent on the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the establishment of herd immunity in the Kingdom. The Bangkok Post reports that Danucha Pichayanan from the NESDC says the government needs to come up with a better plan for the rollout, including prioritising workers in the tourism sector.

“The recovery of the tourism industry depends on the government’s capability to arrange vaccine distribution. The faster the government distributes vaccines, the better the country’s tourism industry recovery as well as Thailand’s economic growth.”

Danucha adds that there is a need for vaccination to be prioritised at the main tourist hotspots, as well as manufacturing production sites. He says the government should be in a position to provide the jabs during the last quarter of the year, adding that this should lead to quarantine requirements being relaxed for foreign arrivals.

The NESDC has already revised downwards its forecast for international arrivals this year, from 5 million to 3.2 million. The downgrade is due to the resurgence of the virus late last year, coupled with the ongoing spread in other countries and a lack of proof of vaccine efficacy.

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“The new wave of Covid-19 spreading in countries such as Italy, Finland, Brazil, Turkey, Iran and our neighbouring nations like Malaysia and Indonesia will definitely freeze the recovery of Thailand’s tourism industry.”

Meanwhile, the NESDC predicts that developed nations will have vaccinated 50% of their populations by the first half of this year and 75% by year end. For developing countries, the numbers drop to 50% inoculated this year and 75% during the first half of next year. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed that the first 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac jab will arrive in Thailand next Wednesday and will be distributed by the end of the month.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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