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Thailand’s international borders not re-opening for tourists until 2021 – TAT

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Thailand’s international borders not re-opening for tourists until 2021 – TAT | The Thaiger
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Thailand is unlikely to reopen its borders to international tourists before the end of the year – the prediction from a deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Speaking at yet another webinar, this time hosted by Mekong Tourism and TravelMole, the deputy governor for international marketing at TAT, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, noted that there has been “no talk of a timeline issued for reopening the country to inbound or outbound leisure travel during weekly Covid-19 national meetings”.

He spoke of the Thai government’s “very, very cautious” approach to reopening borders and said he doesn’t expect Thailand to welcome tourists until at least 2021.

“I see no signal from the government that the country will open this year. That’s putting lot of pressure on the tourism industry. The Christmas period, usually the high season, is in jeopardy and I’m looking horribly even to Chinese New Year in February, which is an iffy proposition at best now. Unfortunately, this is not a rosy picture.”

Discussions about the creation of travel bubbles have also stalled.

“Last month, there was talk about forming travel bubbles. That talk has not continued so far because of outbreaks in many of the countries we were hoping to get tourists from, including Vietnam.”

Meanwhile the list of groups allowed back into Thailand, under strict health measures, has been expanded from diplomats and UN officials, to business people, investors who have an agreement with the government, film crews, some migrant workers, exhibition personnel and the holders of Thailand Elite visas.

But there are also conditions set on these categories of people allowed back into the country, including their country of departure. Everyone must spend 14 days in state sanctioned quarantine.

Thailand is also opening up to select countries for medical tourism.

The TAT deputy governor also added that plans are being discussed safe bubbles that can be formed for leisure travel, with a proposal that all visitors spend a minimum of 30 days in Thailand. This would be in designated areas – probably islands, such as Koh Samui or Phuket.

“Currently, this is not moving forward as the government is taking a wait-and-see attitude. They want to see how the current groups of foreigners, such as film crews and diplomats, do first. There is still a lot of nervousness.”

With uncertainties surrounding the reopening of borders to international travel, Thai tourism operators are proposing a new inbound tourism plan, called “Safe and Sealed”, to replace travel bubbles.

During a joint meeting of the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the private sector chaired by tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, tourism-related groups proposed letting tourists return to Thailand in Q4. As compared to the travel bubble scheme, the plan envisages safer, more flexible screening procedures for many countries.

“Only visitors from cities with a record of zero infections for at least 30 days will be selected, and they will only be able to travel and stay in designated hotels and provinces. Other conditions include a Covid-free certificate 72 hours before flights, as well as insurance and swab tests.

The tourism sector used to employ 4 million workers pre-Covid, but with businesses having zero revenue over the past 6 months, unemployment in the sector could soon exceed 2.5 million.

Meanwhile, EVA Air has announced today that it is pushing back its re-introduction of flights to Phuket from next month until at least March next year.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thomas Easton

    August 10, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Well this news is already 3 days old https://www.ttgasia.com/2020/08/07/tat-deputy-governor-dashes-hopes-of-2020-reopening-for-thailands-international-borders/?fbclid=IwAR2uaKClkOz56YFikqTO_9F0lo8O1wq37MULiNHBS2ydtcCQ08vafyIEfDY And if the goverment of Thailand want to kill of one of their major industries then go for it, they can cope with the homelessness, suicides, increase in theft etc that will come of killing tourism, I’ll just find somewhere else to spend 2 months at the end of the year and give the money I’ve saved for the holiday to another countries tourism

  2. Avatar

    mark jamieson

    August 10, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Mark Barry Oh my – Why don’t we follow Germany’s example? Travellers have to have negative test within 24 hours of travelling and medical insurance covering covid – then a test at the airport on arrival – if they are positive customers for the hospitals that are hurting -if negative all good and business as usual – win, win – maybe some fine tuning but seems to me a way to go – especially in a country like thailand that has virtually no cases so can handle some cases surely

    • Avatar

      Khaja Sarfaraj Mansur

      August 11, 2020 at 2:30 am

      Sorry friend

      It’s not about Corona Virus….

      It’s about their xenophobic mentality……

      This is unfortunate for Thai Tourist Industry and those people who is helpless to see an unknown future…..

      Heart broken

      • Avatar

        Jimmy Dee

        August 11, 2020 at 11:15 pm

        The Thai government don’t give a damn about their own people and their all corrupt too shame on you.. It’s just a little common sense needed then thailand can get back to its former self or if not maybe go back 40 years and the baht is killing foreign tourists too… Major overall needed sooner than later please don’t let you’re own people down or this could be disastrous

    • Avatar

      Steve Kanter

      August 11, 2020 at 11:41 am

      Unfortunately, Mark, you often can’t get results of tests back for days or more. So how can a person time their holiday, specifically an overseas one, in that case? I buy my ticket, make hotel reservations in the country I am visiting and then my results are delayed? Also, how can it even be timed for exactly 24 hours before my flight?? So, as a result, all that money and planning for that trip down the tubes.

  3. Avatar

    Glenn

    August 10, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    “The tourism sector used to employ 4 million workers pre-Covid, but with businesses having zero revenue over the past 6 months, unemployment in the sector could soon exceed 2.5 million.”

    yea I guess it could eh? More like 4M unemployed. Oh, don’t forget the supporting businesses in the tourist industry.

    All for a flu that has (if you actually believe the numbers) a 0.25% infection rate and a 0.0094% fatality rate. (more people die from coconuts falling on their heads).

    Govt may as well just come out and declare there will be no more tourists and the T&T industry is finished, done, over, put a fork in it!

    • Avatar

      Mike frenchie

      August 10, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      Correct and please add the biggest part of the real estate industry (condo), restaurant and satellite services (lawyers…). Bailing out 25% of the Thai economy collapsing will not be easy when the other 50% are severely impacted (agriculture and electronics are both down 25%). They will change their mind or the IMF will be there mid 2021…

    • Avatar

      Henry

      August 10, 2020 at 11:25 pm

      “All for a flu that has (if you actually believe the numbers) a 0.25% infection rate and a 0.0094% fatality rate.”
      Argh while I sympathies with the situation and I basically lost my tourist business on this, the numbers you present Glen, is purely number manipulation and does not reflect what are real if no measurement were taken
      As soon as the borders open, there will be a new outbreaks. We can see that in every other tourist country. Stay safe !

      • Avatar

        Daelle

        August 11, 2020 at 1:52 am

        Look – COVID Test at the entry (airport) 10 days quarantine and after 7 days second COVID Test – and good is – what the fuck should be wrong with this ??? Stay safe but don’t exaggerate !!!

      • Avatar

        Mike Frenchie

        August 11, 2020 at 6:36 am

        If you are below 60 and without precondition, this virus is non lethal for the immense majority! BTW – ‘Stay safe’ is impossible when driving motorbike in Thailand and nobody cares… people must stop believing that COVID is such a big deal for most!

  4. Avatar

    tony collington

    August 10, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    I read with great interest your story on international tourism not until 2021. Myself and a few of my friends have been unwillingly, but happily stuck in phuket since march. We buy and hand out water to desperate thai waiting in queue for government food. We clean the government beaches around phuket, phi phi, ao nang, bang toa. We buy local thai produce. We cook and deliver food to homeless Thai.
    We are happy spending our money in thailand, yet we are going to get kicked out on 26th september. We wish the Thai government would not say ‘do not over stay your welcome’ but say ‘if you want to stay and help towards economy during these difficult times then your welcome to stay’ We have many thai friends, some of us have thai girlfriends with no work (who live with us and we support).
    Government needs to look at the big picture from what is happening on streets with crime and desperation, not from an office !!
    Write an article if you would like to.
    We met a Thai family from pattaya who were on Ko phi phi. They were disgusted by states of beaches, they said they would never come again.

    • Avatar

      Khaja Sarfaraj Mansur

      August 11, 2020 at 2:38 am

      You are a good human my friend….

      But Thai Govt. need money…. try a Elite visa…. you are welcome….

      I feel pity for those millions who need to survive with tourism …..

  5. Avatar

    ROBERT KEHNE

    August 10, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Certainly, Thailand has every right to keep its borders closed and for whatever reason they like. Polls show the Thai people are afraid of COVID-19 and weary of foreigners. So the government feels safe in its decision. Curiously, how many thousands of Thais are dying on the roads each year with nearly no action taken? The concern, to me, is not about saving lives but about taking Thailand back in time.

    • Avatar

      Bobby m

      August 10, 2020 at 11:17 pm

      Your so right Robert.

      If They continue along this path it will undoubtedly return Thailand to a third world country, so sad.

  6. Avatar

    Bobby m

    August 10, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Agree with Glenn

    Please get real Thailand.

    You are openIng your borders to investors. Really, who on earth do you believe will invest in an economy that is about to hit the floor. Ask yourself “would you invest”. The rest of the world is now learning to live with and control this virus as much as possible. Isn’t it time you did the same.

    Yes there is risk, but I am sure it’s lower than deaths caused in Thailand by poor driving, poorly maintained vehicles, overloaded lorry’s and alcohol.

    Will you close your doors every time a new strain of virus arrives on the planet. This is not the first, nor will it be the last. If you cannot see and understand what the rest of the world is doing to handle it, along with their own economy. Then I am afraid you can give up all hope of any investors.

    • Avatar

      Lindsay

      August 11, 2020 at 12:06 am

      Or they could have just let the tourists that were here, Covid-free, spending money, and who wanted to stay-(and STILL want to stay)-stay here without making things so complicated. Why throw away a safe, functioning tourist industry when you already have one?

  7. Avatar

    River

    August 10, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    This is sad. Just trying to make it there to see my fiance, family and friends. Seems like I will have to wait another maybe a year before I can get back to there. Smdh. This will break me

    • Avatar

      hopeless soul

      August 11, 2020 at 1:57 am

      Stay strong I am in the same boat 🙁

    • Avatar

      Steve

      August 11, 2020 at 2:21 am

      I am in the same position, we brought new house, completion was 6th August just. I am not a tourist, she is my partner, they wish to break the Tourist Industry so the Rich can buy up real estate at 50% of value , the 1% in Thailand own 65% of country but want to own the other third too. Back handers are in place, Military, Police have guaranteed jobs , 20% of population will go bankrupt as support for tourism is many more millions that will now sink too

  8. Avatar

    Daelle

    August 11, 2020 at 1:58 am

    Look – COVID Test an the entry (Airport), then 10 days quarantine and on the 7th day a second COVID Test – Done and good is !!! Where is the problem – this government is insane – maybe they don’t let in even there is a vaccine ? Come on !!!!! Something wrong here ….

  9. Avatar

    Ray W.

    August 11, 2020 at 2:16 am

    So effective economic ruin, lost livelihood, mass mystery and suffering, and a slow 4+ year recover… all for what is clearly at this point a low fatality flu… great plan, more people to die from the poverty and depression, you cowards are super good at planning, way to be.

    • Avatar

      Simon

      August 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      Indeed Ray. No planning, fear mongering by the government, estimated 8.4 million people unemployed due to this pandemic according to the World Bank. Way to go.

      In 2019 well over 130,000 people got infected with dengue, and between 130-200 people died ( depending on which statistic you read). I do not recall Western countries stopping flights to Thailand nor calling them Dirty Thai.

      Currently over 6 million people live in poverty (number pre-Covid), add the new unemployed and you will be well over 15 million. A grim future for Thailand.

      • Avatar

        Rinky Stingpiece

        August 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

        The difference is that this virus has a more problematic risk profile than Dengue.
        Dengue is transmitted via biting insects that can be avoided or exterminated, hence it’s not classed as contagious like forms of influenza, coronaviruses, rashes (chikungunya, poxes, and measles), polio, menengitis, rabies encephalitis, hepatitis, HIV, herpes, gastroenteritis. Dengue is haemorrhagic like Ebola and Yellow Fever, and the victims of these tend not to be able to pass it on as much as airbone respiratory viruses.
        Some of those are transmitted by specific types of risky activity or exposure.
        So you’re left with respiratory viruses that are airborne, rather than fluid-borne, and that’s the problem.
        Not to mention that it makes rich and powerful old men suddenly more vulnerable than they used to be.
        The real risk is not so much the coronavirus itself, as its ability to mutate, and then we’re in a sort of sci-fi plot scenario, where human mass extinction, or at least dramatic population reduction, is on the cards.
        Imagine Favelas of Brazil, slums of Africa, India, SEAsia, with open sewers, rats and faeces everywhere… it’s the four horsemen of the apocalypse… crimate change destroying food (famine), mutating airborne viruses (pestilence), economic collapses prompting insurgency and conflict (war), and the breakdown of civilisation (death).
        I understand the dismissiveness, but the current situation could get a lot worse, and if you want to imagine how that might look… take a trip to Lebanon.

  10. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    August 11, 2020 at 2:34 am

    Thai Gov is using this time to rebrand itself when it opens for tourism. I think just like Las Vegas did yrs ago, Thai Gov wants to shed the party image and be family orjiented by discouraging certain visitors to return while having even wider opened arms to others.

    • Avatar

      Алексей

      August 17, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Оригинально. Устроить ребрендинг в мировой кризис когда и без этого можно ожидать снижение потока туристов. Тай хочет перехватить пляжных туристов с островных государств? Закрыть направления, где у него нет конкурентов? Имеет уверенность, что турист оплатит все эти мероприятия с пузырями, карантинами, суперстраховками? Пока имеем результат в виде больших сомнений во вменяемости Тайского руководства и предположение, что нормального туризма в этой стране больше не будет.

  11. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    August 11, 2020 at 3:43 am

    This looks like it will be worse than the AEC in 1997… just defying gravity at the moment, but the economics can’t stay suspended in midair for much longer, economic gravity is bound to kick in… where will the replacement money come from?!

  12. Avatar

    ScubaNicks Nick M Fawcus-Robinson

    August 11, 2020 at 6:48 am

    The headline is causing grief all over the place… Thailand has not agreed this, neither is it law. It is a simple (irresponsible) statement that says… “It is unlikely”… and it is a “Prediction” to say that the ban is de-facto is completely misleading…. NOT GOOD REPORTING ~!!~! CAusing more panic!!~!!

  13. Avatar

    Mike

    August 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    True Robert , the mortality rate in motorcycle accidents in Thailand are way higher then the mortality rate by COVID !

  14. Avatar

    KennyX

    August 12, 2020 at 7:54 am

    You will kill your own people through economic hardship. You are pure evil. Don’t pretend to care about public health when you can drive on a motorbike woth 4 babies.

  15. Avatar

    KennyZ

    August 12, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    You’re going to kill the Thai people through economic hardship and instability! This is pure evil!

  16. Avatar

    Ian Butler

    August 12, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    I agree with most of above i have visited this beautiful but corrupt country twice yes its such a shame i have thai girlfriend maybe i get back march but i not plan anything as the thai govermment is a crazy crazy bunch and need i say anymore about a king that is living with 20 women in a 5 star hotel in germany when his country crumbles i hope the people rise up and make this country great again go for it people the western people are behind you

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A Burmese teenager who lives near the Thai-Myanmar border tested positive for Covid-19. Now, Thai border patrol officers are tightening security even more to make sure Myanmar’s outbreak doesn’t cross the border and cause a second wave in Thailand.

The 17 year old Burmese boy tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Reports say the teen was in Myanmar’s Payatongsu district, about 5 kilometres from the Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint bordering Kanchanaburi. The teen started having symptoms on September 11 and tested positive on September 17.

Only around 13 people were reportedly in close contact with the teen and they are now in quarantine at a district school. Health officials suspect the teen was exposed to the virus from his uncle who had travelled to Moulmein, a large city near Yangon which had a spike in coronavirus cases. The uncle has been tested and is in quarantine, but his test results are still pending.

In another case, a 2 year old Burmese child tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand. A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department says the child most likely contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar around September 4 to September 10. The family travelled to Mae Sot and entered Myanmar through natural passageways. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Since Myanmar reported a surge in cases, starting mostly in the country’s Rakhine state on the western coast, Thailand has been increasing border patrol to make sure people are not entering Thailand illegally and potentially spreading the virus. Now that there are cases in some Myanmar border towns, Thailand checkpoints are on high alert.

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. The country reported a total of 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

In some border districts, police have placed barbed wire along the border to prevent people from entering illegally. Security has increased and dozens of migrants have been arrested in the past month for allegedly entering Thailand illegally. Even volunteers have stepped up to patrol the borders. No migrants arrested for allegedly crossing the border have tested positive for the virus.

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Myanmar

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. As of September 22, the country reported 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

Maya Taylor

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Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy | The Thaiger
Shuttered businesses along Bangla Road in Patong yesterday

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew was addressing a Public Health Association forum, where he highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, shutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money flowing into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years, including accommodation, tours, tour boats, tours buses and passenger vans, international shows, new roads, restaurants and rentals – all aimed at the many levels of traveller budgets.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that will attract more visitors to the province.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the south to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship.”

Meanwhile, PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, says the forum gives those attending the opportunity to share knowledge and advice on tackling the spread of disease, with presentations and competitions addressing all public health activities.

Phuket usually receives around 14 million visitors every year, with around 10-11 million arriving from outside Thailand. The airport usually welcomes up to 300 international flights a day but is now only receiving around 80 flights a day, since the ban on foreign flights started in April. Narong says an estimated 40,000 of the island’s workers are now unemployed, while those still employed have taken hefty pay cuts of anything from 20% to a hefty 90%. Less than 30% of the province’s hotels are currently open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So, it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible.”

The Cabinet recently approved a long-stay visa (the Special Tourist Visa) for tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom, although critics say the strict requirements, coupled with the extortionate cost of the mandatory 14 day quarantine, make it unworkable. The new visa is also insisting that travellers will have to arrive on restricted charter or private jet flights, adding further cost and restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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