Thailand considering no-quarantine travel bubble with China

PHOTO: Thai Residents

With no new Special Tourist Visa applications for November, the Thai government is considering a no-quarantine travel bubble plan with China. Officials hope that if approved, the scheme could be put into operation in time for Chinese New Year in February. China currently has 22 low-risk provinces, as they have not recorded a Covid-19 case in over 150 days.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, will hold talks at the Chinese embassy, where the countries’ foreign ministries will discuss next steps. A joint travel bubble plan would then require final approval from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

Thai officials are also turning their attention to Switzerland, hoping to attract long-stay Swiss tourists on non-immigrant O-A retirement visas. Also being discussed is the possibility of using golfing resorts as alternative local state quarantine facilities, thereby providing guests with a golfing holiday while in quarantine. It’s hoped such a move might attract golfers from places like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, who would normally spend a few of their winter months training in Thailand.

Phiphat says such visitors normally spend around 3,000 baht a day, per person, on golf programmes, without factoring in accommodation and food. He’s hopeful that between 20 and 30 of the 238 golf courses around the country might join the scheme, which it’s hoped could begin by mid-November.

It’s understood there are already 5 golf courses, in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Saraburi, Kanchanaburi, and one in Nakhon Ratchasima, owned by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, that have been approved as ALSQ facilities. Existing members would need to be transferred to other courses and staff would have to carry out 14 days’ quarantine before they could leave the properties. The proposal still needs to be approved by the government’s Covid-19 task force.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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