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Tourism sector pin hopes on “Safe and Sealed” scheme to lure international visitors



PHOTO: Indochina Tours

In the latest plan to bolster Thailand’s withering tourism industry, business operators are proposing a new inbound tourism plan called “Safe and Sealed”, to replace the delayed “travel bubbles” scheme and prevent Thailand realising the worst-case revenue scenario of only 675 billion baht next year, down from 3 trillion in 2019. At a joint meeting yesterday of the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the private sector, tourism-related groups proposed letting inbound tourists restart trips to Thailand in the fourth quarter of 2020 with safer screening and more flexibility for many countries than the bilateral travel bubble scheme would have allowed.

The president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents says while Thailand has begun welcoming certain limited groups of foreigners, the total will be fewer than 100,000 visitors and cannot prevent many tourism-related businesses from going bankrupt. The new inbound plan is expected to draw at least 500,000 tourists to Thailand and generate 50 billion baht in revenue. The cost of the package would be around 100,000 baht per person, twice the average price of 50,000 baht before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says the scheme is the last bid to enable the majority of tourism businesses to survive and avoid layoffs in the fourth quarter if Thailand continues to keep its borders closed to international tourists.

“Safe means we will select only guests from cities with a record of no infections for at least 30 days, and they can travel under the sealed conditions provided by tour operators in designated hotels and provinces that agree to welcome those tourists.”

Other necessary screening processes would also required, such as an infection-free certificate issued no more than 72 hours before a flight, as well as insurance and swab tests.

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says Phiphat will forward the proposal to related agencies, and include the idea of setting up a tourism fund to provide soft loans to the industry, which has struggled to secure loans from commercial banks. Tourism businesses want the government to help start the fund with a 100 billion baht budget.

Yuthasak says employment in the tourism sector stood at some 4 million workers before the outbreak. But as most operators have had no revenue in the past 6 months, unemployment in the sector could grow as high as 2.5 million as businesses cannot bear more losses. Other estimates put the figures even higher.

The TAT also shared its 2021 tourism scenario with representatives from the private sector: the worst case sees Thailand earning just 675 billion baht in revenue, down 9% from this year, which is likely to close at 742 billion baht, down 75% from 2019’s 3 trillion baht. If Thailand can build momentum by receiving at least some international tourists, the best case shows that tourism revenue could climb to 50% of 2019 levels, or 1.5 trillion baht.

The National Economic and Social Development Council previously set the tourism revenue goal at 3.9 trillion baht for 2021. Yuthasak now says that goal has become far-fetched unless a vaccine is found.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Chiang Rai Times


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  1. RS

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Excellent idea. I’m sure hundreds of thousands of hopeful selectees from around the world will be applying for your so called sealed & safe package deal. Will it include individual shirt stickers and someone with a flag herding them around? Fantastic! Well done sir.

  2. Geoff

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Nobody is giving Covid cover travel insurance. If you want visitors, you will have to get around this. The other things are inconveniences that are easily overcome.

    • Luigi

      Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      holins insurance covers covid risks. Doofficile is to have a covid test 3 days before leaving and then find a plane ticket in these three days. in my city we had no Covid cases

  3. Glenn

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 11:45 am

    the article content was truly funny, unfortunately it’s about real people needing real incomes and real jobs. the idea that quality (rich) tourists will come vacation in a bubble (at the point of threats/fines/expulsion) is comical.

    regrettably thailand believes the propaganda and fear of a virus (flu) with a worldwide fatality rate of just 0.0091% is a danger (and that number includes a lot of deaths due to co-morbitities attributed to CV). until the govt here admits CV is not a dangerous, deadly, fearsome disease and is just a flu, kiss the entire travel and tourism sector goodbye along with all the other supporting businesses.

    There is much more behind this cv scam than health.

    • Bobby m

      Friday, August 7, 2020 at 4:00 am

      Here here.

      Come on Thailand, Get real.

      Read what Glen is telling you and try to understand it. This virus is not going anywhere anytime soon. Live with it, learn to control it the best you can and treat people that get sick. Even if you do it for free, it will cost you less than the damage is costing your economy.

      As he says, it is a flu virus and flu viruses kill many hundreds of people every year. It’s also worth noting that all viruses mutate, so don’t bank on a vaccine solving all the problems for you.

      • Patrick

        Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 6:10 pm

        Exactly agreed!!

  4. Matthew Crampton

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I for one welcome any inactive that will allow travel from safe countries. At least Thailand has a plan to open borders unlike my country of residence that appears to have no plan at all.Well done to TAT for at least being proactive. I sincerely hope I will be able to travel back to Thailand in the near future.

  5. Perceville Smithers

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    This is not the way Westerners typically travel and 100,000 THB per person plus the cost of expenses once you get there is ridiculous.

    It’s becoming more clear who the preferred visitors are.

  6. Rinky Stingpiece

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    The TAT seems to imagine there’s some kind of queue of people trying to get in for a holiday like this, they’re really not. Most people will go somewhere nearer and simpler, with fewer restrictions, e.g.: Europeans going to Iberia; Americans going to the Caribbean; Asians probably staying within their own countries.
    What’s going to have to happen is a biometric yellow fever book type solution once virus testing and inoculation is in place. However, the epidemiology of this thing isn’t fully understood yet, meanwhile most governments are skittish, and as noted – most insurance companies aren’t covering it because they can’t evaluate a risk assessment with likelihood and hazard so high.
    What’s next? “virtual tourism”? Isn’t that what most people do every day on their smartphones?!

  7. Khaja Sarfaraj Mansur

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Funny, impractical, illogical……….. I agree with Rinky….. Thai Govt. are imagining that tourist are dying to travel Thailand. Actually tourism is a golden goose for Thailand. They are targeting rich people but why would rich people travel Thailand with so much uncertainty and unfriendliness attitude of Thai Govt.

  8. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    “to lure international visitors”????
    Naw, not alluring enough.
    Not with all the restrictions.
    Die Thailand tourism industry. The government killed you.

    • John

      Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      Thai people had full herd immunity by February with a heavy influx of Chinese tourists Nov-Feb before the mask nonsense. THEY HAD FULL HERD IMMUNITY! Thai doctors even announced a cure back then! Only 58 deaths in 10 months from Covid compared to 5,000 deaths per month from normal flu. They should never have listened to the WHO/CDC in March. Those agencies have been thoroughly discredited. Thai people are immune and do not need masks but the media frightened them. Thailand is the “land of masks.”

  9. Simon

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    This is hilarious. You could go literally anywhere else in the World and spend less. Who the hell does Thailand think it is? The last holiday destination on Earth? Hahaha

  10. Ron

    Friday, August 7, 2020 at 10:16 am

    The current worldwide travel restrictions prevent ANY tourism. The 500,000 number is a dream and will never happen. The vast majority of the past tourist were budget minded and won’t jump through any hoops to come here or anyplace else. My thought, along with a CoVid test, is for the government to impose a 200-300baht per head travel CoVid insurance tax to be tacked on to any visa, any arrival, to cover any CoVid related treatment in a Government Hospital/treatment facility.

  11. Spain

    Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    100.000 baths for 2 weeks in Thailand? PCR 72 hours before ( some fly around 18hours ) a covid insurance worldwide? Where do you sell the approved? safe city? and how to control it you can move easily. really rich tourism for the beaches that thailand offers? have you investigated even in google the beaches that exist in other places? the person in charge of thailand has no idea how to reactivate tourism, so I’ll tell him: take a test phuket, equip it with 3 large mobile hospitals, control the border end phang-nga with a prepared border (pcr, heat detectors , etc) and open all the hotels (let in all Thais who voluntarily want to work) and do not let anyone out without analysis. you already have the tourist economy reactivated and safe!

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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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