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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Tourism sector prepares to resume business

Jack Burton

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Tourism sector prepares to resume business | The Thaiger
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Businesses that have been battered by the Covid-19 outbreak, especially those in the Eastern Economic Corridor (straddling Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao provinces) that rely mainly on tourism, are in desperate need of support. But the vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce says it’s still too early to predict when tourism will recover, as it largely relies on arrivals from China.

He says even after the government lifts travel restrictions there are likely to be fewer tourists, as countries are still struggling with the pandemic and restricting overseas travel to curb contagion.

“After the tourism business is unlocked, there will only be some stranded Thais returning and maybe some groups arriving to hold seminars. This may help some businesses, but will not be able to stimulate recovery, especially since this region fully relies on foreign tourists.”

The private sector is devising tourism stimulus measures to propose to the government, focusing on domestic travel to help businesses survive, before preparations can be made to accept foreign tourists once the outbreak ends.

The chairman of the Chonburi Chamber of Commerce says the agency is discussing Phase 2 of the relaxation of measures with the provincial authorities, and may soon lift restrictions on golf courses, parks, hotels, resorts, restaurants and tourist attractions in the province.

Tourism has been the hardest hit by the outbreak, with nearly all tourists disappearing and operators losing 80-90% of their income.

The Chonburi and EEC Tourism Development Plan, (which does not cover Pattaya City and Bangsaen), was created to promote other attractions in the province, such as the Hundred Pillar House, or Ban Roi Sao.

“We expect the Covid-19 outbreak to end by the beginning of next year and travel should once again begin once a vaccine is found. The tourism sector in Chonburi should return to normal by the second quarter of next year.”

The vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand says the eastern region is suffering the most and little can be done as it relies mainly on foreign arrivals.

Currently all borders to Thailand are closed and no tourists are allowed to enter. It’s believed that Thai nationals may be allowed to travel overseas by the beginning of July, and the government may allow interprovincial travel as soon as Sunday if the number of new Covid-19 cases remains low.

Most foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter Thailand for most of the remainder of this year, though it’s thought that Chinese tourists may be allowed in by July, as the number of infections in their country is under control. Operators believe there will be a large influx of Chinese tourists because they are not able or allowed to travel anywhere else.

“TCT predicts that the number of tourists in 2021 will match the number in 2019. Hence, it is important for operators in the tourism sector to start preparing for the influx.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and 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.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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