Travel bubbles may be postponed “indefinitely”


The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand now says the proposed “travel bubble” scheme, which could have allowed limited numbers of tourist arrivals from designated “low risk” countries, may have to be “postponed indefinitely”, after its 3 target partners – China, Japan and South Korea – experienced new outbreaks of Covid-19.

On Tuesday, the CAAT’s director-general told reporters he expected Thailand to start exchanging tourists in August with countries that had controlled their coronavirus epidemics as Thailand has. But while negotiations have begun, new outbreaks in Beijing, Tokyo and outside Seoul now mean “we probably will have to postpone indefinitely.”

He says the government will monitor outbreaks around the world for the rest of the month.

Although the CAAT is not the agency that will ultimately decide whether talks will be postponed, the director-general’s comments reflect the attitude of Thailand’s leaders, who seem unwilling to accept tourists from any country where even a single case of Covid-19 was found outside of quarantine.

Thailand’s Transport Minister says he can’t predict what August and September will bring preferring to wait for a “clear policy” from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

As Thailand’s government looks to continue a risk-averse attitude to re-opening its borders, the Immigration department is signalling that an extension of the current visa amnesty is “unlikely”. Not extending the amnesty for people with expired tourist and visitor visas is forcing thousands of foreigners into hasty arrangements to leave the country before the July 31 ‘sunset’ of the current amnesty. The Immigration department has made no official announcement about the visa amnesty at this stage.

(The Thaiger urges foreigners in Thailand, without a current visa to live in Thailand, to contact their Embassy or Consulate in Thailand to register their situation and become familiar with flights leaving the country at this time.)

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