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Up to 1,000 foreigners per day with smart phone tracking – plan to open Thailand up to foreigners

Caitlin Ashworth

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Up to 1,000 foreigners per day with smart phone tracking – plan to open Thailand up to foreigners | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth
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If approved by authorities, foreigners from low-risk countries will be allowed to enter the country and travel in so-called “travel bubbles” without going through the 14 day quarantine period. They’ll be tracked through a smart phone application to make sure they stay in their “bubble.” The plan is being prepared for an approval from the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration this Wednesday.

Countries considered ‘low risk’ at this stage would include Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, possibly Singapore and China, but this is speculation until the decisions are made which country the Thai government wants to include in its travel bubble.

But the move doesn’t mean tourists will be back and flocking to the islands or filling up the markets of Bangkok. Only 1,000 people would be able to enter the country per day, probably an equivalent of 3 – 5 plane-loads. In the proposal, the foreigners allowed in the country initially will be those entering for business purposes and patients seeking medical treatment, according to a government spokesperson in the Bangkok Post.

“Covid-19 screening tests will be required both before the visitors leave their countries and upon arriving in Thailand.”

The plan has faced criticism as Thais returning home from overseas still face a 14 day quarantine while the plan proposes that certain foreigners won’t have to go through quarantine. The difference being the Thais are arriving from a myriad of countries, many still at high risk. In recent weeks confirmed infected Thais have arrived back from Middle East countries and the US.

The “travel bubbles” will carefully curate the countries from which foreigners will be able to travel from – all low-risk countries with few new cases over an extended period.

If the bubble system works, tourism officials will use the system for a ramping up of tourist arrivals in the future with hopes that it will speed up the economy’s recovery after the hard drop in tourism during March, April and May.

But Thai security officials remain concerned about the country opening up too soon to foreigners, and that it could led to a new wave of local transmissions. They also says that giving privilege to these specific foreigners, while still imposing the 14 day quarantine on repatriated Thai nationals will likely prompt further negative reaction by Thais.

A recent Suan Dusit Poll found that 75.7% of Thais do not want foreign tourists visiting Thailand soon with 54.4% saying that they would like Thai people to tour the country first. 21.3% say they are afraid foreign visitors would spark a second wave of Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mr Z

    June 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    China low risk?!?! People have very short memories, but empty wallets I guess.

  2. Avatar

    Bruce Sterling

    June 16, 2020 at 3:33 am

    If they are so scare of tourist they should be carefull of the outbreak country No:1 ,tourist from China first of all now when they facing the second wave of Covid-19.

  3. Avatar

    Jon Travis

    June 16, 2020 at 3:34 am

    If they are so scare of tourist they should be carefull of the outbreak country No:1 ,tourist from China first of all now when they facing the second wave of Covid-19.

  4. Avatar

    Bubba

    June 16, 2020 at 7:33 am

    And what about the Expats with families here? They are virtual prisoners now in Thailand! If they leave on business or for personal reasons, they can’t return, right? So who suffers? The Expat and his Thai family. So stupid!

  5. Avatar

    Arun Thadhaagath

    June 17, 2020 at 3:51 am

    a good movement as thailands main income isfrom tourists.
    I am from India been in Thailand twice till March, for 3 months and now trapped in Laos. I am on my solo bicycle tour and travelled entire thailand,
    from North to far South.
    so safe ,friendly, loving country and people.
    I have only very good experiences and memories.
    amazing loving caring country.
    I love the country and it’s people.
    those who are trapped in countries close to Thailand always think thailand would be the best place for a lock down also.
    we are eagerly waiting to experience agat the one and only the great Thailand.

  6. Avatar

    Glenn

    June 17, 2020 at 8:53 am

    owww, how about locked-on ankle bracelets with radio frequency transmitters? ah, add the requirement to wear an brightly colored arm band that says “potential disease carrier”. then they could do mandatory weekly hospital health check-in.
    failure to comply will be met with large fines followed by deportation. Heil !!!

  7. Avatar

    Germany

    June 18, 2020 at 8:21 am

    thailand will suffer a great economic blow with these measures, blocking tourism is blocking its economy and thinking that the Chinese (the biggest carriers of covid19) are their solution, will make the economic fall added to a multitude of new infections. bad thinkers in government

  8. Avatar

    Ron Wood

    June 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Foreign tourists let into New Zealand infected with the virus. New outbreak in China.
    Opening up to tourists will certainly increase the risk of further outbreaks. Thailand has done well to contain the virus while many western counties have failed and will have to live with Covid-19 for months or even years to come. The economy in Thailand may be bad now,but another large outbreak and a return to lock down would be devastating. Peoples lives over profit. Go on try it for a change.

    • Avatar

      Chris

      July 4, 2020 at 10:03 am

      You are so right. In 2018 more than 20,000 people died in Thailand in traffic deaths. Cars should be banned. Right? After all more than 90% of the deaths from covid-19 are people who are over 65. Covid 19 takes about 5 years of average life expectancy away while traffic deaths take about 50 years.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/03/asia/thailand-road-deaths-new-year-intl/index.html

      Anti-body studies are revealing a real infection rate much higher than posted and a survival rate of about 99.5%. Meanwhile economic destruction and lockdowns are destroying lives, leading to increased suicides, delayed diagnosis of diseases like cancer, delayed early treatment is stroke cancer, heart disease. What about the quality of life for the 99.99% of the world’s population that will not die? Lives over profit indeed.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Phuket

Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s land rights. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has been condemned online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews, after he criticised anti-government protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Nimit Thian-udom says that, while the SSO’s investment does not break any laws, the board must explain the reasons behind the investment decision and clarify the return on that investment. In addition, he says the SSO should attach more importance to good governance when choosing where to invest.

The call for clarity is echoed by opposition MP Chirayu Huangsap, from the Pheu Thai Party, who calls on the Labour Minister to explain the investment. He adds that any discrepancies will be reported to both the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

The land rights of the luxury Sri Panwa Phuket resort, which sits on prime land atop Phuket’s Cape Panwa, overlooking the south-eastern tip of the island, are also being called into question. Veera Somkwamkid, from the People’s Network Against Corruption, says he is looking into the property’s land rights and will pass his findings to the Department of Special Investigations.

For his part, the Labour Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built, saying it’s up to the DSI to investigate and that a complaint does not need to be filed in order for them to do so.

Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as anti-government netizens exact their revenge on the proprietor by posting negative feedback on the property.

“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

First airplane food cafe, now Thai Airways opens fried dough stand

Caitlin Ashworth

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First airplane food cafe, now Thai Airways opens fried dough stand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

Since not much is happening in the air, Thai Airways is running new business schemes on the ground. For their newest venture, the company opened a deep fried dough street food stand. They say the fried dough with taro custard is an “award winning” recipe.

Thai Airways has already opened a pop-up restaurant serving “in flight” food to customers seated in repurposed airplane seats. They also started offering package deals for a lessons on their flight stimulator, touting that it’s the most realistic stimulator in Thailand and is usually used to train pilots.

For their new fried dough stand outside of the company’s Bangkok headquarters, the new business venture has already “taken off.” Nation Thailand says a long line of people waiting for the 50 baht fried dough early Wednesday morning.

The stand is up from 6:30am to 9:30am in front of their headquarters on Silom Road.

Hopefully they’ll make a profit out of the fried dough with taro custard as they currently owe around 245 billion baht (give or take a few billion), according to Reuters. So 245 billion baht, divided by 50 baht, minus the costs of the taro and dough… they will have to sell a LOT.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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