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Industry representatives call on government to prioritise vaccination, include tourism workers in first rollout



The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is urging the government to make the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines a national agenda and to prioritise those working in the tourism industry. According to a Bangkok Post report, the JSCCIB says tourism workers need to be vaccinated to keep them safe while interacting with travellers. It has also suggested that employers fund the vaccination of migrant workers, in return for tax breaks, saying both groups should get the vaccine from July.

Mingkwan Metmowlee from the ASEAN Tourism Association says independent tour guides should be considered frontline workers given the close contact they have with tourists, and should be first in line for free vaccination, given that they are self-employed and don’t have a large business to help cover costs. Mingkwan says hotels that are still earning some revenue from initiatives such as alternative state quarantine can fund vaccines for their workers, with the possibility of adding the cost to guest charges.

JSCCIB member Kalin Sarasin from the Thai Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to help around 1,800 hotels who couldn’t avail of soft loans, saying there’s a real risk people will lose their jobs otherwise.

“JSCCIB is worried these hotels will lay off their workers because they are mostly medium to small hotels that cannot afford to pay operation costs, including salaries.”

Meanwhile, Krod Rojanastien from the Thai Spa Association says workers in the hospitality sector should have their vaccines fully subsidised by the government, given that the industry will need at least 5 million doses. He adds that for foreign employees, who only make up 10% of workers, companies are willing to front the costs, but if the government can assist, it would help the sector.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Maverick

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 10:56 am

    More silliness – tourists are not allowed in unless they quarantine – or perhaps in the future after vaccination priority has to be elderly why do they write this nonsense

  2. EdwardV

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 10:56 am

    This ties in with TAT calling for dropping the quarantine in the third quarter to restart tourism. An unrealistic timeline if you ask me, but the fourth quarter is doable if they prioritize as in the article. Not sure I agree with the ethics, but it’s their country so it’s their rules. At least that’s what I’m told.

  3. Svcoquette

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 11:12 am

    I hope they give some priority to the foreign tourists stranded here to be vaccinated, especially those over 65, even if we have to pay for it. They should recognize the economic support we have provided in these trying times. Many do not feel safe to travel out of Thailand. In our case we, and many others, arrived here on our yacht (only home) from Malaysia but cannot return.

  4. luca

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    Two considerations come to mind, the first is why industry representatives want to relaunch tourism first if it is only 6% of GDP. The second is that it seems that Thais have too many expectations from tourists, if you don’t lift the quarantine and if you want to charge the vaccination costs of hotel employees to the tourist why would anyone want to come on holiday to Thailand?

    • Pierre

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 2:08 am

      Your are so right luca.

      If tourist industry is “only” 6% why so focused on vaccinating Thai employee inside this industry?

      Maybe the Thai government have been looking solely on the direct loss from the industry without looking at all the business behind feeding this industry and now it has been obvious, that the loss is spreading like rings in water and hits much more Thai’s and realized the turist industry is much larger than expected.

    • London Al

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 2:35 am

      Nice try, it was 6% in 2020, normally it’s around 18%, circa 2.7 trillion baht, pre Covid over 15% of employment in Thailand was in the tourism sector, it’s vitally important and you can’t simply get rid of it, make no mistake pretty much everyone in the world wants tourists back, including the Thai government, they will lift quarantine as soon as they feel it’s safe.

  5. Issan John

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Who’s in the “tourism industry” and comes into closest contact with tourists?

    A hotel chef or a Pattaya motorbike taxi driver?

  6. Ben

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 8:06 am

    They’re going to do it like in the west. Medical personnel first, the old second, the sick third, essential workers fourth and so on. You’re not going to please everyone. Every trade or citizen group is going to advocate for putting their people first.

    Job one is get the vaccine supply secured and work on the distribution system.

    There has been no commitment to lift the quarantine. Until that happens all tourists are not a threat because they went through the ringer and are clean.

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