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Arrival projections for Thai tourism downgraded for 2019

Tanutam Thawan

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Arrival projections for Thai tourism downgraded for 2019 | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has downgraded the forecast for foreign arrivals this year to a range of 39-39.8 million. This is down from the upbeat projections at the start of the year that 40.2 million tourists would arrive in the Land of Smiles.

Thai tourism for the first half of 2019 grew only 1.4%, less than expected, prompting the new Minister to admit that the target of over 40 million would not be met.

Although some netizens have characterised the slight reduction in tourist arrivals, especially in some of the traditional ‘hot spots’, and specifically in the months of April and May, to a ‘collapse’ or major reversal of fortune for Thai tourism, the numbers still show an upward trajectory for the year.

The Thailand Tourism Intelligence Centre says 23.1 million foreign tourists visited the Kingdom between January and the end of August this year, up nearly 2% compared to the same period last year. The big mover is Indian tourists, up 24% year on year.

The minister, whose proposal to provide incentive to Chinese and Indian tourists with visa-free entry, says he will continue to chat about about the “security issues” raised with related state agencies.

His proposal, rebuffed last week by foreign minister Don Pramudwinai and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, was rejected at last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. But the Cabinet did extend the current 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee waiver to the end of April next year.

Apart from India and China, the following countries are also on the list of visa-on-arrival fee waivers – Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26)

Anukul

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3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26) | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: reuters.com

Today, in the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily press conference, Dr. Taweesilp confirmed 3 new cases of coronavirus in Thailand, of which all were recorded as quarantined overseas repatriates. This brings Thailand ‘s total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 3,045. The death toll remains at 57 fatalities with no additional deaths reported today.

Dr. Taweesilp says from the new cases all 3 patients either had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. They are all in quarantine and under supervision.

“The first case is a 51 year old Thai masseuse, who had previously returned from Russia on May 12 and was quarantined in Chon Buri province. She had no symptoms but tested positive for the disease yesterday.”

“The two others are Thai men who returned from Kuwait on May 24 after a business trip and were quarantined in Samut Prakan province. They were coughing and tested positive yesterday.”

Of the total accumulated cases, 2,929 have recovered, including 1 patient who was released in the past 24 hours and 59 patients remain in hospitals.

Dr Taweesilp said that, in the past 4 weeks, in most of the country (65 provinces), no new Covid-19 cases have been recorded.

“The situation is improving thanks to public cooperation. Now we are heading towards the third stage of easing business and activity that were closed during lockdowns. It is likely to cover some higher-risk businesses and activities. They may resume with strict disease control measures.”

Chonburi, where Pattaya is located, has had no new confirmed cases in over a month. Phuket has also reported 0 new cases today but with 9 patients still receiving medical care.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News| Bangkok Post

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Business

No role for Transport Ministry in Thai Airways rehab plan

May Taylor

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No role for Transport Ministry in Thai Airways rehab plan | The Thaiger
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After initially insisting on having a say in the management of the rehabilitation plan for the beleaguered Thai Airways, the Ministry of Transport has conceded that, with its holding in the airline reduced to less than 50%, it no longer has any jurisdiction over what is now a listed public company.

Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam says the struggling carrier is no longer a state organisation under its control and administration of the court-approved rehabilitation plan now sits with the Finance Ministry.

Thai PBS World reports that both ministries had clashed over who would oversee the plan as, until filing for bankruptcy protection, the airline was both a listed public company with the Finance Ministry as its largest shareholder, and a state enterprise under the Transport Ministry.

The Transport Ministry had hoped to recommend 4 people as members of a “super board” that would oversee the administration of the airline’s rehabilitation plan, with other members to be nominated by the Finance Ministry.

The jockeying for position of the ‘super board’ has already begun with prominent names publicly putting themselves forward.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Deputy PM says politics not involved in Emergency Decree extension

Jack Burton

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Deputy PM says politics not involved in Emergency Decree extension | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

“There is a week to go before entering the third phase of relaxation. Whether a further easing will occur depends on this week. I want to urge everyone to keep their guard up at all times.”

With the second month of Thailand’s national state of emergency coming to a close, a deputy PM says fear of second wave of Covid-19 infections, and not politics, is behind the government’s need to extend the Emergency Decree. Business closures and travel restrictions under the decree have produced huge economic hardship nationwide.

Prawit Wongsuwon’s comments come as the cabinet is expected today to extend the emergency decree for a third month. But opposition and critics disagree with prolonging the decree, saying the Communicable Disease Act alone should be enough to control the spread of the virus.

They claim that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s administration has a hidden agenda, alleging they want to hold onto emergency decree powers for political reasons.

The spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, defends using the decree. He says it is a far better tool than other laws because it unites virus control efforts under one command.

Taweesilp yesterday urged the public to remain vigilant, to wear masks, frequently wash their hands and practice social distancing. This, he says, will help Thailand in the next phase of lockdown easing. But public health officials say there are signs that people are becoming less vigilant as the number of new daily infections drops.

The deputy chief of the Department of Disease Control says some organisations have begun relaxing preventative measures, like cancelling work from home. As a result, Bangkok’s BTS stations are again overcrowded during peak hours. But he concedes the Covid-19 situation in Thailand has improved, with the number of new daily infections dropping to rates not seen since the early phase of the pandemic in February.

He says health authorities want to continue the momentum, adding that lockdown measures will no longer be necessary if the number of new daily infections is kept below 5 per 1 million people.

“For example, Bangkok has a population of 8 million. If the number of Covid-19 patients is 40, transmission is considered limited”

Authorities say the situation could become critical if the number of new patients passes 10 per 1 million people nationwide, which would prompt stricter lockdown measures again.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

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