Government’s economic task force meets to discuss job creation, “Phuket Model”

PHOTO: William Rouse on Unsplash

The government’s Covid-19 economic management team meets today, with a number of stimulus measures expected to be announced. Nation Thailand reports that officials plan to discuss job creation for graduates, along with yet more talks on how to safely welcome international tourists.

Deputy PM and Energy Minister, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, says any measures announced are expected to be short-term. The government is considering a financial incentive scheme for companies that hire new graduates. Supatthanapong says the various “plans” for re-opening Thailand’s borders will also be discussed, adding that more information will be forthcoming following the talks (there has been no shortage of ‘plans’ and ‘models’ bandied around over the past 2 weeks).

Government spokesman, Anucha Burapachaisri, confirms that various ministries will put forward their proposals, pointing out that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha remains concerned about striking a balance between re-vitalising the Thai economy and continuing to keep the Covid-19 situation contained. In particular, officials are concerned about illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries, such as Myanmar, which is currently experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases in Rakhine state.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Pipat Ratchakijprakan, says Thailand must re-open to foreign tourists in order to revive the country’s battered economy, adding that he can’t understand why some health officials are against the idea, while not opposing the entry of migrant workers. Pipat points out that many of those coming in from Myanmar are doing so illegally, without going through any health checks or quarantine, meaning they pose a far greater threat than tourists who would follow a strict entry process.

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Together with the National Economic and Social Development Council, Pipat’s ministry will present a proposal for a safe re-opening to foreign tourists. The government has already approved a plan to allow 200 long-stay visitors from Australia and New Zealand to enter Phuket from next month. Officials say all arrivals will be tested for Covid-19 prior to departure and again on arrival. They will be required to carry out a 14 day quarantine period, after which they may travel around Phuket. After a 21 day quarantine, they will be free to travel around the rest of the country. Visitors will be granted 90 day visas, which can then be extended by 180 days.

The government says it plans to gauge the reaction of locals before admitting any additional tourists. If all goes well, they say future arrivals may not be confined to their rooms but permitted to walk around their hotel for between 4 and 7 days prior to wandering outside.

Unfortunately, what appears to have been forgotten in this plan, is that Australian citizens are currently not allowed to leave their country, with few exceptions, while the government of New Zealand advises its citizens not to travel overseas at this time.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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