Call for Covid boosters before wave of Chinese tourism

FILE PHOTO: the return of Chinese tourists amidst the Covid waiver has authorities calling for the tourism sector to get booster shots.

To prepare for an influx of Chinese tourists, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is encouraging all employees in the tourism sector to get a Covid-19 booster shot. China has experienced a giant wave of infections since it abandoned its zero-Covid policy but the mainland still intends to open its borders to allow citizens to travel abroad next week. Many people are wary that this may usher in a new major outbreak of coronavirus infections in Thailand and surrounding countries.

To be safe, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn is calling on all workers employed by tourism businesses to get a Covid booster. Anyone who works in a hotel, especially as reception staff, or as a driver or tour guide for example is encouraged to be safe as they will be near many tourists, including Chinese travellers.

He also reminded everyone that Safety and Health Administration standards set out to certify hotels and restaurants during the pandemic must be strictly adhered to.

At the end of this year, the target of 10 million tourists was met and surpassed with around 11.5 million foreign travellers arriving in Thailand in 2022. The government has set a 2023 goal of at least 50% more tourists this year.

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It’s expected that tourism from China will start quickly, with the first quarter of 2023 seeing at least 300,000 Chinese visitors.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha laid out plans on Sunday to make sure the spike in tourism can be handled safely. He called for the creation of new health and safety measures for the public and tasked the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to work together to create and implement them.

The National Committee for Communicable Diseases is saying that travellers coming in from China will be required to have health insurance as well as a Covid vaccine proof. They previously reassured eager tourists that arrivals from China will not be required to take a Covid test in the airport, saying that risk was still at manageable levels according to the Bangkok Post.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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