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.”

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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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