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Key foreign investors could be exempt from quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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Key foreign investors could be exempt from quarantine | Thaiger
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Key foreign investors might get to skip out on the 14 day quarantine required for travellers entering Thailand. Allowing high spending investors a free pass on the isolation period is aimed to help revive the economy after it was battered by the pandemic. The Centre for Economic Situation Administration, or CESA, is expected to discuss the proposal today.

Special measures would be in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri did not go into detail about what measures would be required for VIP investors instead of quarantine.

They bounced around the idea of assigning a health officer to stay with each investor during their stay, but Anucha says it won’t work because the investors need to conduct business dealings in private.

The quarantine exemption needs approval from the CESA and then an endorsement from the Cabinet. The spokesperson says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is asking officials to speed up the process and draft health requirements for the investors.

While investors may get to skip out on quarantine, some travellers on the new Special Tourist Visa plan to spend their 2 weeks in isolation at luxury resorts. The Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the first groups of tourists from China and Scandinavian countries will arrive later this month after a 6 month ban on international tourists. The first group of tourists from China were set to arrive in Phuket tomorrow, but a Thai business journal reported the flight has been delayed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    So the quarantine is not imperative when the Thais might make money – big money.
    But a tourist on holiday must go through quarantine.
    Could it be that all these hoops the tourists have to jump through is just a money making racket?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      Shocking. The Thais will soon be copying the example set by the West, as well as many other countries, setting different rules for those who are tourists and those who are on business. Shocking.

      • Avatar

        Albert Zweistein

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 11:40 pm

        Can you name me ONE country in the west setting different rules as you are mentioning ?

      • Avatar

        RR

        Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 3:00 am

        There are already different rules, they are called Tourist Visa and Non Immigrant Visa B (Working/Business). No need to be shocked for obviousness

  2. Avatar

    Stan

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Welcome to binary Thailand: tourist(bad) risk and must quarantine, investor (good) no risk and no quarantine.

  3. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!” (The croupier hands him his money.) “…Your winnings, sir.” “Oh, thank you very much!” – this news story would almost be funny if it wasn’t completely expected.

    • Avatar

      RR

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Casablanca, great movie

  4. Avatar

    RR

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Thailand, the land of double standards

  5. Avatar

    Mark

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Thailand wants to open BLOOD TESTS work not the Chinese plastic ones they don’t work doctors lab test are 100 % and covid sniffer dogs at airports

  6. Avatar

    Fabian

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    **All humans are equal but some humans (elite) are more equal than others**

    I find it very very disturbing.

  7. Avatar

    Peter Harris

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Maybe the Thai authorities, have been reading Donald Trump’s Tweets.
    Seasonal flu much worse than coronavirus…

  8. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    If it works… it opens the door to tourism with test on arrival and before departure.
    This idea is worth being tried.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 2:00 am

      No other countries seem to think so …..

      I can’t even guess what the point of a test before departure would be …..

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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.

Pattaya

Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin

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Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin | Thaiger
PHOTO: Elephants walking down the road because their car is in the shop.

A group of 5 elephants and their owners began the long walk today from Pattaya to Surin after giving up on the return of tourism anytime soon. The 500 kilometre journey has to be done on foot as they couldn’t afford to hire trucks large enough to carry each elephant.

After waiting a year for the Chinese tourists that make up a majority of their customer base to return, the families decided to embark on the long journey with the 5 elephants to their home in the northeastern province of Surin. As they walk they’re protected on both sides by pickup trucks to keep them safe from cars.

5 years ago Napalai Mai-ngam came with her relatives to work in an elephant resort in Tambon Lam Huay Yai of Bang Lamung near Pattaya with their 5 elephants. They told the Bangkok Post that their earned a good living, about 75,000 baht (15,000 per elephant) plus tips from the tourists to ride elephants on nature trails, each month.

But with the borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the tourists from China who usually flocked to elephant activities, were stuck back in China and Napalai’s boss had to cut their pay. Even with vaccinations finally underway, tourists in numbers, enough to sustain activities like elephant camps, may not be back anytime soon. The families finally had to surrender to the reality and start the long walk home.

They avoid the blistering Thai sun by walking early mornings while the weather was still cool, and hope the roadways out of Pattaya would provide snacking opportunities for the elephants to graze. They expect the journey to take about 2 weeks. The families have turned down offers of cash donations for fear that their long walk will be viewed as a publicity stunt.

That said, the families have expressed gratitude to the locals in towns they pass who have donated drinking water, food and fruit to the entourage of people and elephants. If you would like to donate resources you can contact them on phone number 093 335 7062.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning | Thaiger
PHOTO: Traditional panning for gold replaces tourism for income in Southern Thailand

Thars gold in dem hills!

With tourism in Thailand struggling due to Covid-19, and an economy needing some help, some people in the southern Thai region of the country have found income in an unusual source: panning for gold. The Sukhirin region close to the Malaysian border is known for gold deposits in the Sai Buri River and surrounding mountains. Villagers who made money before with tourism have now returned to panning for gold using old-fashioned manual techniques their ancestors used, without the aid of any machinery. Well, just an old pan.

Locals had previously made money selling food to passing tourists or acting as a tour guide to take people around the area, where travellers seeking to get away from the crowded and overdeveloped tourist areas that attract the most foreigners find many unique activities. Kayaking was a popular local activity with up to 150 people a day sailing down the rivers that are now filled with locals panning for gold. The prospectors are now making their income from the gold they collect which sells for 1,500 baht per gram. Families that work together can often collect at least one gram a day.

Thai Gold prices have reached record highs over the last 2 years and many Thai people have traditionally used gold and gold jewellery as a form of savings and investment, pawning their gold rings and bracelets in times of financial emergencies. The gold collected from these Southern villages will be used to make jewellery in Bangkok.

The region had invested in expanding into ecotourism but the pandemic put all their construction plans on hold. A cable car was being built to transport people up to the tops of the mountains to beautiful temples. The area’s unique history attracted people to their annual Rocket Festival, typically a north-eastern celebration.

In 1932, France was granted a 25 year mining contract in the jungles. They extracted almost 2000 kg of gold before World War II forced closure. The mining tunnels still exist and sometimes attracted adventurous tourists, but now sit vacant aside from snakes. In the 1960s the Thai government incentivised northerners with 18 rai of land each to move to the region. As a result, the area stands out in the Muslim region with 90% of the population being Buddhist, and most still speaking Isan dialects.

SOURCE: France 24

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Economy

Thai baht performs worst of all Southeast Asian currencies

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Thai baht performs worst of all Southeast Asian currencies | Thaiger
Photo by Peter Hellberg for flickr

Among common currencies in Southeast Asia, the Thai baht was the worst performing in the first quarter of 2021, mostly due to Covid-19’s effect on tourism in Thailand.

This week the baht hit its lowest point in half a year, falling 4% against the US dollar to 31.24. The decline was the sharpest in all of the Southeast Asian nations. The Indonesian rupiah fell 3.4% and the Malaysian ringgit fell 3.1%, while the Philippine peso and Singapore dollar dropped 1% and the Vietnamese dong basically held steady. Kyats, the Burmese currency did plummet further, 5.6%, following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, but it’s not considered a common currency.

Thailand’s depreciation is heavily due to the economic downturn as a result of the pandemic which has all but killed Thailand’s tourist-heavy economy. With borders closed, the drop in foreign tourism pumping money into the economy has left a glaring hole. Before Covid-19, in the third quarter of 2019, Thailand held a surplus of US$11.5 billion baht. By the third quarter of 2020, the surplus had fallen to $6.6 billion, and by the end of the year, it had slid to a deficit of $1.4 billion.

Thailand had been bolstered by the surplus and by the constant influx of tourist spending supporting the economy. Tourism money fell to $742 million due to the pandemic border closure, just 5% of the equivalent period last year. The government is hoping to restart the tourism economy and pump more Thai baht into the country with a variety of actions to shorten quarantine, reopen key tourist locations like Phuket, and eventually allow in vaccinated travellers without any quarantine.

Many are still unsure of Thailand’s stability, with investors, importers and exporters still having doubts. The Finance Minister believes there’s no need to panic, as he was expecting a backlash when the Thai baht hit a 7 year high. They have acted by increasing investment limits to US$5 million for Thais to buy foreign securities, up from US$200,000 and loosened restrictions on foreign currency deposits.

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia

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