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“Travel bubbles” to require minimum 2 week stay



PHOTO: Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakan - Nation Thailand
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“Travel bubble” tourists who visit Thailand during its soft and timid reopening phase, tentatively scheduled for August, may have to spend 14 days in designated areas. Then, a negative test for Covid-19 after 2 weeks would free them up to go anywhere in the Kingdom. Thailand’s tourism and sports minister says he’s met with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha about creating travel bubbles for tourists, requiring them to plan trips with a minimum 14 day stay.

But instead of being kept in 14 day quarantine, leisure tourists could travel within 5 designated areas: Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Krabi, Phuket and Pattaya. After 2 weeks, visitors would  be retested to ensure they are virus-free. They would then be allowed to travel freely to other destinations.

The 5 designated areas were determined after the Tourism Authority of Thailand conducted a survey with locals. Some 74% of respondents agreed with introducing travel bubbles, with strict measures.

The tourism minister says he still hopes to launch the travel bubble scheme with low-risk countries in August, and that domestic tourism alone cannot fully revive the battered tourism industry. Domestic tourism activity makes up about 40-45% of tourism revenue.

“It is important to bring inbound tourist to help fill a big vacant spot in tourism revenue.”

As the government mulls the travel bubble scheme, the tourism ministry has decided on a new strategy…  targeting rich tourists seeking privacy and social distancing in the post Covid era, rather than try to attract large numbers of lower-spending tourists. Once the country’s borders are reopened and so-called travel bubbles are agreed upon, marketing efforts will be geared toward rich tourists who want holidays with minimal risks.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Chiang Rai Times


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  1. Richard Barker

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    The so called “rich tourists” don’t spend the money where the Thai people need it most

  2. business as usual

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    In fairness, it does seem sensible to not allow a rush of tourists.
    …and to be a bit more selective.

    We can see how since rioting in the US, the rates have gone back up; and in the UK, where people generally like to cut corners, the rate is not where it should be.
    You look at densely populated countries around the world, and you see rates and mortality climbing – and that’s only where there’s data. Clearly Brazil and India are getting more data than Indonesia and Philippines.

    However, the idea of “rich tourists” is a bit mythical. Thailand has made a lot of profit from British tourists buying lots of booze and doing lots of activities.
    Other nationalities aren’t so profitable.
    Having expensive accommodation reduces the potential for income from other activities when the guests are there, which undermines the whole business model.
    Thailand is competing with Spain for tourist cash, because it’s a similar offering: beaches, sunshine, food, culture; but Spain is a lot nearer to the main customer base.

    I just don’t see Russian, Chinese and Indian tourists being as good value as western european and anglosphere tourists. All the China market has to offer is volume, but the actual yield per tourist is meagre, and in the COVID age, volume is a problem.

    Perhaps a better strategy is to go for family tourism and the retiree market that has synergy with medical tourism. If you don’t want to rely on the youth and boozing market, you need markets with spin off sales.

    • mr sparky

      Monday, July 13, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      get your facts right before posting mate! the rise occuring here in tbe usa is not from the protesters. its from opening up too soon, (bars) (resturants), (clubs) , when the hospitals asked those testing positive were they protesting the people all replied, no but they traveled to hot spots and went out clubbing bar hopping, beaches. NO ONE WAS A PROTESTER. stop blaming protesters ok mate. USA tried to open up much tooooo soon.

  3. Fred

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    TAT and Immigration are not interested in “Thai people need it most” but in there own pockets. Don’t call them “Ma. ia”, just call them “” because that is Thailands “every day business”.

    I stay here now for 7 months, still pay every days bills and that way supporting the Thai locals. I have no problem with that, but if they do no further automatic Visa extension – as it looks now – I will leave back to Europe (if possible), and no other tourist will “replace me”, so the few income the locals still have (from stranded tourists) will brake away.
    On the other side, Immigration – because of the former two automatic Extensions – has no additional income.
    There are already rumors about the extra fees stranded tourists have to pay to receive 3+12 month Visas.

    An other point is what tourists are telling potential Thailand tourists when they return to there home countrys. And believe it or not, many of those do not want to pay extra fees to Immigration (i’ve no problem with that, it’s Part of there culture).

    Anyway, next so called “high season” will be a “low season” or even a “no season”. Thousends of thousends Thai will have no work / no income, resulting in an increase of street crime.
    If TAT and Immigration are smart, they will do anything to atrack ALL kind of tourists.
    Just my two cents

  4. Thomas W

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    I guess this is just the usual bla bla – again, nothing will happen as half of July is already over. After being stuck over 200 days outside Thailand (I work FIFO) I just want to see my family. If you live in a remote camp, than quarantine is the least problem (basically the same as work), just let people/families see each other again. Tourists won’t come back in a hurry anyway, since they scared them all away.

  5. Kevin B.

    Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 3:03 am

    what’s considered a rich tourist? i rent apartments for months from at 800-1200 USD per month and think that’s enough of a contribution. then there’s food, drink, and entertainment.

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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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