“Travel bubbles” to require minimum 2 week stay

PHOTO: Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakan - Nation Thailand

“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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