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No date for resumption of international arrivals: PM

Jack Burton

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In an apparent effort to quell rumours and undue optimism, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is downplaying the notion that international tourists will be allowed to return to Thailand in July. The government had set a tentative deadline of 1 July for lifting all restrictions put in place under the Emergency Decree to combat the spread of Covid-19. Last week it was reported the lifting of restrictions would mean that international arrivals would resume from July 1.

But yesterday the Thai PM said Thailand still has a long way to go in its fight against the virus before international tourists can be allowed to return. He added that the issue hasn’t yet been even discussed by the Cabinet, and that only tourists from certain countries may be allowed to visit Thailand, namely those where the outbreak is deemed to be under control.

When tourists are eventually allowed back in, he said, they’ll face “a number of restrictions” which he didn’t specify. This will include so called “travel bubbles,” using bilateral agreements with individual governments to help limit any further outbreak or second wave of infections.

The idea is similar to those enacted elsewhere as countries try to safely kickstart their tourism sectors.

In May, a “travel corridor” allowed people to travel between Seoul and 10 regions in China, including Shanghai, and in Europe, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania established their own travel bubble on May 15.

Australia and New Zealand have discussed plans to resume travel between the 2 countries, potentially as early as September.

The news comes as Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor said last week he doesn’t expect international tourists to return to Thailand until later in the year.

“It is still dependent on the outbreak situation, but I think at the earliest, we may see the return of tourists in the fourth quarter of this year.”

If and when foreign tourists can return to Thailand, there will likely be restrictions in place to determine where they can visit. The resumption of any form of tourism will also rely heavily on airlines, most of which are struggling with huge financial losses and grappling with restarting flights in a very new international travel paradigm.

The PM has said he is in no rush to open up the borders, reminding reporters that all the new infections are now coming from repatriating Thais.

“We are not going to open all at once. We are still on high alert, we just can’t let our guards down yet. We have to look at the country of origin to see if their situation has truly improved. And lastly, we have to see whether our own business operators are ready to receive tourists under the ‘new normal’.”

A ban on all international travel in and out of Thailand remains in place until at least the end of June. The CAAT have made no comment at this stage about dates for a possible resumption of flights from Thailand’s international airports. Phuket Airport remains closed to all traffic.

SOURCE: thaivisa

 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter Wilson

    Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    One very much forgotten problem is that there are many people here who, like me, are stranded in Thailand and who cannot leave the country to go home to work etc until the embargo on foreign flights is lifted. I came here for a two week break in late March, and I am still here, and will be until July at the earliest. It is costing me a lot of money to stay, and I cannot work from here. I have lived alone and have not seen my family since I arrived. At least please open the bars so we can have a bit of a social life, as Covid is very much under control internally. Fortunately I am mentally strong and although I love Thailand very much, I do now need to go home.

    • Avatar

      Kent Smith

      Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 6:41 am

      What kind of idiot would have traveled internationally in late March? Were you living under a rock and unable to see the news?

  2. Avatar

    Derek Carroll

    Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Hello, can anyone please advise me when the many thousands of travellers trapped in Thailand since travel options were cut off might be allowed to leave?

  3. Avatar

    ACE

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 4:18 am

    Shut it down still, not until the COVID-19 vaccine is ready plus getting rid of that freaking 14-day quarantine. Or else, 2nd wave is coming up. I knew that the entertainment venues will open on June 15 but that’s only for locals, stranded tourists and expats who lives in Thailand forever.

  4. Avatar

    M

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 6:04 am

    I don’t understand why the government can’t offer a 14 day quarantine at all the empty hotels. Put the empty hotels to use and make incoming traveler quarantine for 14 days and take a COVID-19 test, all costs charged to the traveler. I promise there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of foreigners who would take that deal.

  5. Avatar

    Sunny

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 8:02 am

    A friend just returned to the UK early this week on KLM. Also Air France still flying out of BKK. For connections to US or Aus/NZ try ANA,ASIANA,Cathay Pacific. Getting back here is another story.

  6. Avatar

    Kevin Martyn

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 8:25 am

    This cannot be pleasing news for all foreigners stuck outside Thailand since March who cannot return to there Thai spouse! And all those retirees foreigners who cannot get back into Thailand and NOT forgetting all those empty resorts and Hotels around Thailand which use to be frequented by westerner’s!

    • Avatar

      Jim

      Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Ditto here I am on a valid Thai Retirement Visa and stuck on Bali. I have an apartment in Bali and Thailand bank accounts. Everything I own is in Thailand and they will not allow me to return when I would willing go along with a quarantine or test me or whatever they need. They seem to be overlooking Expats that are stranded (perhaps willingly).

      I wish there was a way to bring together all the stranded Expats and speak as one group to the Thai government because just complaining as individuals gets blown off.

      • Avatar

        C.Corcoran

        Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 1:13 pm

        Are in same boat mate,stuck in n.z waiting to get home to wife and boy in udon thani,its sounding like we are been bunched in with standard tourist requirements and have to wait in line with them,,,,,expats are tolerated in the the land of smiles by government not welcomed no matter how much good we do for communities and love the country……. If your eyes weren’t open before this hope are now to where the expats rate

  7. Avatar

    Sunny S

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 10:51 am

    KLM, Asiana, ANA, Air France all still fly out of BKK

  8. Avatar

    Jim

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    This article says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha might not re-open the country to International flights until December. I think it is discriminatory that they allow Thai citizens to return (with quarantine) but not long term residents on current visas who have apartments, bank accounts and all their possessions’ in Thailand. They should allow us to return with 14 day quarantine and a Covid test. When my return flight was cancelled (with not even a notice) I went to Thai Airways Manage at Bali airport and he said only Thai citizens can board even though I showed him my long term visa. They mistakenly think it is easy for Expats to return to their home country but they overlook the fact that stranded Expats have bank accounts and everything they own is in Thailand. They gave us a visa and they should honor it. It is very under-handed what they have done. Having to be stranded until i.e. December is ridiculous when there are Covid-19 tests and quarantine options available. It is really an over-the-top paranoid reaction by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. I hope lawsuits will start flying or perhaps a class action lawsuit for being discriminated against.

  9. Avatar

    Clyde James

    Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Many foreigners that are stranded outside of Thailand belong to the “Mixed Foreign/Thai Families Community”. A new classification for Mixed Foreign/Thai Families needs to be recognized by Thailand’s immigration authority, simply because these particular foreigners are not short term visiting tourists, they are a permanent part of Thai society with families and homes in Thailand. With Thai relatives and relatives in many other countries, they represent a huge number of people that are simply unrecognized and underrepresented by Thai immigration authorities.
    The”Mixed Foreign/Thai Families Community” must be discussed and recognized by immigration authorities in their next meetings. Applying the same procedures for returning foreigners with work permits, procedures for their return can be published and these permanent members of Thai families and Thai society can be allowed to return home as soon as commercial flights are re-established.
    Surely Thailand’s families take priority over regular tourists or select tourist bubbles!

  10. Avatar

    Bob the Train

    Friday, June 5, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Thailand is a dictature and the actual junta doesn’t care about its own thai people so why would they care about stranded foreigners?

    The stigma that Thailand has left on them I hope would be felt for a long time.

    Thailand is the land of lies and there is no trust that can be accorded to its immensely corrupt government.

    Government right now is busy with inside fighting to know who will feast the most on the 2 trillions baht that they are going to distribute mostly among themselves…

    All that while their own people are starving.

  11. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, June 5, 2020 at 9:44 am

    What exactly is wrong with letting foreigners leave?
    If they have the virus they will not infect any more Thais. They would be out of the country.
    This is just one more example of the Thai policy of make it hard for the foreigner.
    Awkward bloody minded rules for the foreigner, similar to foreigners pay more to enter state parks, or attractions.
    All the condos and malls being built, let us see how well they pay when the country has no foreigners.
    They think foreigners will be returning after the treatment they have had, and the news gets out to others abroad? They are WRONG!
    By the way I am in Cambodia. I left just in time. No curfew. No alcohol ban, no distance requirements, and most places open that want to.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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