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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Tourism call centre flooded with complaints over cancellations

Greeley Pulitzer



Tourism call centre flooded with complaints over cancellations | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport lies nearly empty - CNA
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Thailand’s Tourism Department and its recently opened complaint centre are being flooded with complaints from would-be tourists about cancellations due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. More than 2000 have filed complaints, and the department says refunds will be difficult.

The outbreak has bashed global travel, resulting in Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Bangkok Airways, among others, temporarily stopping all international routes. Thai Smilesuspended all international routes yesterday.

Taweesak Wanichcharoen, director-general of the Tourism Department, says passengers and travellers who are having difficulty getting refunds from tour operators can contact the complaint centre. He says the high number of cases registered at the centre, open for less than a month, indicates several conflicts between consumers and tour operators, who have their own issues with airlines and refunds, which are likely to to be prolonged. He says the influx of complaints began after the government postponed the Songkran holidays, a traditional period for Thais to travel.

The department is working on a case-by-case basis to reach acceptable solutions and avoid lawsuits. It seeks cooperation from the Transport Ministry to devise more effective solutions. Taweesak acknowledged it will be rare for tourists to receive a full refund.

“With tourism hit hard by the coronavirus, we need to revise refund regulations to avoid repeating this problem in the future.”

The department plans to propose to the cabinet today approval of aid for tour operators, including the return of registration deposits to all licensed companies. About 14,000 tour companies can expect to receive 70% of their deposits by April if the cabinet approves the move and it’s officially announced in the Royal Gazette.

Taweesak says the department plans to spend at least a billion baht from the total budget of 1.4 billion. The caveat is that once the situation improves, tour operators must return the deposit to the department.

There are four types of deposits, ranging from 200,000 baht for outbound tourism, 100,000 baht for inbound tourism, 50,000 baht for domestic tourism and 10,000 baht for tourism in specific areas.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok bans booze April 10-20




Bangkok bans booze April 10-20 | The Thaiger

All sales of alcohol will be banned in Bangkok starting tomorrow until April 20. Police made the announcement this afternoon at the Covid 19 Disease Management Centre in Bangkok.

The stated reason for the ban is to encourage social distancing and stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. However, many netizens have already commented that it follows similar moves in Chiang Mai to stop people from gathering and drinking during the traditional Thai New Year, or Songkran, which falls during the same period.

Officially, Songkran has been postponed to a later date by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, though the exact date has not yet been announced. The days are no longer public holidays but officials fear that people will still be wanting to celebrate.

10 other provinces have bans or restrictions on alcohol sales:

1. Sakon Nakhon: March 31-April 16

2. Chiang Mai: April 10-20

3. Rayong: April 3–15

4 Buriram: April 2-30

5. Mukdahan: April 6-30

6. Suphanburi: April 4-30

7. Nakhon Pathom: April 2-30

8. Lamphun: April 1-30

9. Chonburi: from 6pm to 6am (with the National alcohol sales laws still in effect, this means one can only purchase from 11-2 and 5-6 pm)

10. Surin: 2-30 April

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Aviation industry estimates that 25 million jobs are in peril

The Thaiger



Aviation industry estimates that 25 million jobs are in peril | The Thaiger

Amongst industries hit during the Covid-19 situation, the aviation industry has probably been hit harder than most with huge investments, millions of staff, complicated infrastructure, small margins and thousands of down-stream businesses. It will also take a lot longer to wind the whole aviation machine back up when things eventually settle down.

The International Air Transport Association estimates that some 25 million jobs are at risk due to the impact Covid-19 is having on the industry. It reports that the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people. dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism, are also at peril. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs.

In a bleak scenario, assuming travel restrictions could last for three months, the IATA report estimates that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered …

• 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
• 5.6 million jobs in Europe
• 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
• 2.0 million jobs in North America
• 2.0 million jobs in Africa
• 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East

Airlines could also expect to see full-year passenger revenues fall by US$252 billion, a whopping 44% drop for 2020, compared to 2019. It’s also estimated that world airlines have burned through US$61 billion in cash during the past three months, limping along as countries close borders and airports shut down.

Airlines are now calling on governments for critical financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses. Clearly, whenever planes start taking to the sky again, there will be some brands missing who were unable to survive the financial impact of the industry collapse.

IATA is calling on governments to support local airlines with…

• Direct financial support

• Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market

• Tax relief

Alongside vital financial relief, the industry will also need careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is contained. It will be complicated. At the practical level airlines will need contingencies for licenses and certifications that have expired.

Planes, sitting gathering dust for months on end will need critical maintenance and testing before returning to service.

At the root of the industry’s problems is that airlines have been such a vital part of the contagion’s ability to spread. The popularity of plentiful, cheap, airfares, linking the world, has provided the perfect environment for the virus to spread. All those people waiting in queues, cooped up in a plane for hours creating the same air, sitting inches away from each other.

The industry will have to find a more predictable and efficient approach to managing travel restrictions which need to be lifted before we can get back to work. And there won’t be a single day when the shutdown is magically lifted and all airlines leap back into the sky. It will be a lumpy lurch back into service as countries, one by one, start re-opening airports and borders.

These are just some of the major tasks that are ahead of us. And to be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together,” according to director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

“We ended up with a mess of measures that we are still sorting out today. The 25 million people whose jobs are at risk by this crisis will depend on an efficient re-start of the industry.”

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health ministry begs children to ‘save parents’ and avoid Songkran visits

Greeley Pulitzer



Health ministry begs children to ‘save parents’ and avoid Songkran visits | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Freepik

Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year festival, is typically a week long celebration including a mass exodus to the provinces as dutiful children visit their homes bringing best wishes to their elders. This year’s celebrations have been postponed indefinitely to prevent that exodus, for fear of spreading the Covid-19 coronavirus to the provinces and among the elderly.

Now the the Department of Health is asking children to avoid visiting their parents and elderly family members during the Songkran period.

“We want to make sure that during Songkran, senior citizens are safe from Covid-19 transmission. So young people, who represent the country’s largest disease carrier group, should participate in the “Save Parents” campaign, keeping them free from the deadly disease.”

The campaign was launched this week by Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, secretary-general of the Department of Health, to coincide with the Songkran Festival, which usually runs from the end of this week until next (the actual Thai New Year day is April 13 each year).

Although the government has cancelled national holidays and water splashing events, Panpimol says some people are still expected to try to return home and visit their parents, despite recently imposed travel restrictions, adding some might even defy the water splashing ban.

“Those who live with elderly family members should avoid physical contact, especially hugging and must also avoid splashing water on them.”

According to the Thai ministry, the risk from the coroanvirus rises with age. The mortality rate for patients aged 60-69 is 0.7%. That figure rises exponentially to 10.5% for those aged 70-79, and 16.7% for those 80 and above.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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  • Total Cases: 2423
  • Active Cases: 1451
  • Recovered: 940
  • Deaths: 32
  • Last Updated: 2020-04-10 at 05:15
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