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Despite lack of vaccine clarity, TAT still aiming for Q3 revival of foreign tourism

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Valeria Bosi on Unsplash

Despite there being no definitive date for when everyone in Thailand might be vaccinated against Covid-19, officials say they’re still planning for the return of foreign tourists later this year. Yuthasak Supasorn from the Tourism Authority of Thailand says the plan to welcome international travellers in the third quarter of 2021 is still on track. The optimistic Yuthasak says foreign tourists will be looking to holiday in low-risk countries and Thailand remains popular. However, he acknowledges that the possibility of a vaccine passport scheme, and the current mandatory quarantine period, need to be taken into account.

The Bangkok Post reports that the TAT is planning to discuss the second phase of the national vaccine rollout with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Yuthasak says that allowing the private sector to purchase vaccines could speed up the process, however he acknowledges that vaccines are currently in short supply around the world. He says the jabs may also prove too expensive for local administrations and that local officials considering this move must remember they’ll be using state finances to do so.

He made his comments after operators on the southern island of Phuket expressed dismay at a government U-turn on allowing local administrations and the private sector to purchase vaccines. Various business groups and the local administration in Phuket had proposed a plan whereby they would finance the vaccination of 70% of the island’s population, in the hope of creating herd immunity and being able to re-open to international tourists from October 1.

After Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the government could not approve such a move, the groups involved have written a letter to the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, urging him to reconsider.

Meanwhile, Chamnan Srisawat from the Tourism Council of Thailand says tourism operators need clarity on when they might be able to re-open to foreign tourists, which he says is the only path to economic recovery. He points out that no international tourists will be able to visit Thailand if the locals are not vaccinated.

“Tourism will not fully recover without vaccinations that can ensure health and safety. It’s more important than any tourism stimulus plan. The government must include the private sector in discussions about a vaccine distribution plan.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 10:56 am

    1 quarantine day = 0 tourist ! Very simple ! Even military should understand !
    In any case high-end international tourists don’t consider Thailand as an alternative

    • Avatar


      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      Really, Actually I think millions tourists would be more than happy with paying ‘only’ $600 for if it meant just confirmed vaccine + 1 weeks quarantine and they could escape European strict lockdown. Problem is millions of people won’t receive vaccine until July now

      • Avatar

        Mel Burn

        Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 8:38 am

        Nope. There is a bunch of countries _without_ quarantine _now_. And many will open _before_ Thailand does. And how many _tourists_ come to Thailand for more than a week?

  2. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:10 am

    Be lucky if they get more than the amount in the photo above

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:31 am

    “… Chamnan Srisawat from the Tourism Council of Thailand says tourism operators need clarity on when they might be able to re-open to foreign tourists …”

    Well, since “He points out that no international tourists will be able to visit Thailand if the locals are not vaccinated” that seems to be all the clarity that’s needed …

    • Avatar

      J West

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      The math is slipping and sliding on this conundrum. Thai want to be dosed first..thats reasonable…but Sinovac for Thai from China is reportedly only approx 50% +/- effective. It’s shelf life against variants isn’t fully known. It may or not be. The South African variant sounds particularly robust.

      Internationally Astra/Seneca is 96.? % effective so far but failing some longevity tests against quickly mutating variants. Will it be necessary to have daily, monthly, annual doses by the time frame offered by TAT?

      Who gets in?….and when …it’s an egg race .

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, February 12, 2021 at 12:34 pm

        The “50%+/-” and “96.?%” use very different criteria for how “effective” they are.

        To misuse your analogy, it may be an egg race but you’re using a potato and an apple.

      • Avatar

        Steve G

        Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 10:08 am

        In Australia we get annual flu shots, free for over 65’s.
        So what’s the big deal if we need to get annual Covid shots?
        IMO there’s too much hysteria and not enough clear thinking re Covid vaccinations, smart ppl will get it, some scared ppl wont, you are entitled to be scared but dont spread your fear

    • Avatar

      Graham Smith

      Monday, February 15, 2021 at 1:50 am

      Forget this year is what you mean?

  4. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:55 am

    “ and the current mandatory quarantine period, need to be taken into account.” – what is there to take into account? By now everyone is painfully aware any quarantine = no international tourists.

  5. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    drop the quarantine time from 14 days to 7 days.. first test on arrival and second on day 7.. also allow tourists to choose cheaper ASQ hotels or home quarantine with a bracelet like taiwan if the arrival test is negative..

    this is cheaper and will allow more tourists. nobody will spend 14 days and 3 tests..

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:27 pm



      As effective?

      Definitely not.

      … and Taiwan only allows “home quarantine” under very limited conditions, which most “tourists” don’t meet.

      • Avatar


        Friday, February 12, 2021 at 5:43 pm

        Sri Lanka also has quarantaine and quarantaine hotels. but tourist staying there are not obliged to stay in their room, but can use all hotel facilities. Plus with a “guide” they can leave the hotel.
        If that was possible in Phuket, and the quarantaine was a bit shorter, I would consider that and after that return to my rented house with private pool.
        No way does I want to stay 15 in a BKK hotelroom without terrace or possibility to sit outside.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 2:13 am

          Are you sure of that?

          I’m not doubting you but I just checked on their website and according to that Sri Lanka tried that briefly, it failed badly, and as a result they’re now closed to all non-nationals (no tourists, no foreign residents) and returning nationals have to first do 14 days hotel quarantine followed by another 14 days self-quarantine at home.

          Either of us could be out of date, though.

    • Avatar

      Honest Al

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      Hi James, even reducing the quarantine to one week wont see the mass return of the all important “two week millionaire” tourists to Thailand because a week stuck in a hotel followed by 2 weeks holiday followed by 10 days further isolation (no work) back in home country wont appeal to many. The vaccine passport and test on arrival is the way to go once they can verify that those vaccinated cannot carry the virus without symptoms. The jury is still out on that one but time will tell

    • Avatar


      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 7:41 pm

      A 7 day quarantine doesn’t work, might as well leave it at 14. The target market is the Chinese tourist and their average stay is 6-7 days. Even the western tourist only averages about 14 days, I highly doubt any would come knowing they are giving up 50% of their vacation at best. All of it and more if they happen to get sick while in quarantine. A seven day quarantine isn’t going to generate large enough numbers to justify the additional risk. Best to leave it at 14 until Thailand feels safe enough to drop it all together.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 12:44 pm

        Agreed on all counts, Ed V.

        It’s all down to when / if / how the vaccines are rolled out.

  6. Avatar

    Andy W

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    If they’re intending to only let vaccinated people enter Thailand then why would those vaccinated people care if Thailand (or any other country) are relatively virus free or not?
    Surely that won’t even make the list when it comes to deciding a holiday location for vaccinated people!
    Well done TAT for knowing your target market so very well 555

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:44 pm

      Because most people realise that the vaccines aren’t 100% effective.

      It’s not strictly correct, but if a vaccine’s only 95% effective that leaves 5% ineffective so a 1 in 20 risk.

      Most people wouldn’t see that as particularly good odds so they’d prefer a vaccinated destination since even if the vaccine’s only 50% effective at stopping transmission that alone halves the risk, plus the virus will be less prevalent.

      The TAT’s “target market” may not be Mastermind winners, but they’re probably not all complete buffoons who think being vaccinated gives them 100% protection.

  7. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I get this real sense of de ja vu about this headline. I distinctly recall TAT saying the same thing last year. Their optimism is good to see, even of the reality is not so hopeful. Mind you, this is TAT talking, who don’t have the power to make any nationwide decisions or decisions concerning borders. Again I say, any country who tries to work in isolation, just as any government instrumentality working in isolation will not succeed.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:55 pm

      Its all down to the vaccine roll out.

      Sooner or later – and it looks like being sooner as it’s no longer taboo to ask about it – people are going to want to know why the roll out’s not rolling, and that could have a lot more impact than some three-finger salutes and name-calling.

  8. Avatar

    Roland Nystad

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    If Thailand want tourist back,clean up in your garbage,and plastic, Thailand looks like a dump,dirt everywhere

  9. Avatar

    Bill Fischer

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    The Baht is still way too strong. That’s yet another reason not to visit Thailand. If I was looking at a tropical holiday, Thailand would not be near the top of the list.

    Besides, the TAT needs a new dartboard. Their numbers are, as always, unrealistic. I wonder how many other types of jobs there are where the employees can be constantly wrong without being replaced?

  10. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    the first time I went on vacation to Thailand was 1998 the last was in 2019, in over 20 years things have changed a lot, what has always convinced me to go was the excellent relationship between price and quality, over time the cost has increased and the quality decreased, with the cost of flights rising and the destruction of the industry closed for two years what will future tourists find? perhaps a devaluation of the bhat would help, but 40 million tourists will not return for many years to come. TAT how the government spreads propaganda, but what will happen when the workers are overwhelmed by debt and can no longer pay the installments of the house, the car, and everything else?

    * Bangkok, Jun 18 2020 11:34 – The National Council for Economic and Social Development (Nesdc) – Thailand’s agency in charge of economic planning – has warned of the serious impact of the pandemic crisis on the finances of Thai families, whose total debt could come to exceed 80 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

  11. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    They have not even rolled out a vaccine as of yet & they speak of tourism in 2021. That’s farcical to say the least.
    The sky over Bangkok will be devoid of full jets for an extended period of time. Higher GDP & paranoia unfortunately are not bedfellows.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      Well … it is the TAT’s job to “speak of tourism” – there’s a bit of a hint in the name! 🙂

  12. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Some observations:

    Luca is correct it’s getting more expensive to holiday in Thailand. The strong baht will deter mass tourists and expats in the future. Thailand has a lot more to offer the wealthy now than 20 years ago and they’ll still come in the same numbers as before.

    The food offerings are much better now than years ago. The restaurants serve world class high quality food at cheaper prices than in the USA or Europe. A friend told me years ago if you want to experience the best in Asia you’re going to pay close to the same prices you do in the west because you’re competing with rich locals for a scarce resource.

    ASQ isn’t as expensive as I thought. A middle of the road package is about 50,000 baht for 15 nights at a 4.5 star hotel. 14,500 of that amount is paid to the hospital for the medical services and the hotel gets the remaining 35,500 for providing 15 nights lodging, 3 meals a day plus water, coffee and tea and transport to the hotel. That’s 2,367 baht per day or approximately $79 USD per day. Doesn’t seem like a big money maker for the hotels to me. Just keeps the doors open.

    The problem with the ASQ is being locked up for 15 days but once you’re out you can enjoy a lot of Thailand has to offer without dealing with mobs of tourists. Some costs like lodging and golf are half of what they were before the pandemic. Beats what is happening in the USA or UK which isn’t much fun. If you’re vaccinated it’s a good place to hang out for the rest of 2021.

    The 3rd quarter estimate of the country opening up is a reasonable one. It’s estimated anyone that wants the vaccine will be able to access it by April in the USA. With more supply coming online in the next few months Thailand will finally get to the front of the queue and start vaccinating the second half of the year.

    The vaccines are not 100% effective and countries will not wait until they are to open. Vaccines allow us to move on with our lives without, or less serious, illness. Without them our hospitals have been overrun and there has been a lot of death. Flu’s don’t overburden the hospital systems and we hope COVID won’t too after vaccinations.

    Sorry, no alarmist stuff here.

    • Avatar


      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 8:29 am

      OK Ben works for the TAT this is obvious.

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 8:47 am

      “Beats what is happening in the USA” – nothing is going in the USA. Everything is normal: swimming pools are open as well as beaches in CA and FL. Some people are paranoid and some are not. Generally, life is going on. And morons learned to wear masks and wash hands – long overdue.

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Honestly, I think that what Ben has written is a bunch of nonsense. “Thailand has a lot more to offer the wealthy now than 20 years ago and they’ll still come in the same numbers as before.” What exactly Thailand has to offer long term for the _wealthy_? 40C degree weather? Smog like never before? Prices for _quality_ food are almost the same as in the West and for certain products (cheese, fish) are several times higher (salmon). The wealthy like clean environment.

  13. Avatar

    Peter Nielsen

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    Why should everyone be vaccinated? Just use the Phizer vaccine, it is nearly 100% effective, so those who have taken it, are nearly fully protected. How many would ask for such vaccine shot? 2 million Thais? 5 million? Cheaper than vaccinating 50 millions with cheaper vaccines. And then no one feels forced to do something they dont really like. Why are all the media talking about mass vaccination? I really dont get it!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 2:21 am

      “I really don’t get it!”


    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      Sorry, Peter N, that was a bit facetious.

      First, “everyone”, or as many as possible who want to be, should be vaccinated to protect them. Unless the vaccine gives sterile immunity it doesn’t protect anyone except the person vaccinated, or at best only partially protects others (probably reducing transmission by 50% according to the latest figures).

      Secondly, the Phizer vaccine.

      It isn’t “nearly 100% effective”. It’s undoubtedly very good, one of the best (but possibly not as good as Sputnik V), but it’s efficacy is still only 95%. That’s 5% ineffective.

      It doesn’t give sterile immunity – at best it reduces transmission, as shown in two separate preliminary Israeli studies posted February 8 at

      It’s also completely impractical for Thailand as a vaccine as it needs to be transported and stored at -70c. Thailand simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to do that, nor can it afford to introduce that infrastructure.

      Lastly, mass vaccination and why all the media are talking about it. It’s the only option to prevent those vaccinated, at least with any vaccine available so far, from re-introducing the virus and re-starting the epidemic – being “case zero” all over again.

  14. Avatar


    Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 5:26 am

    I’m a big spender with an elite visa but I will never take any covid vaccin and never do a quarantaine, not even 1 minute.. If this are the rules, bye bye Thailand forever!

  15. Avatar


    Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 5:39 am

    That’s you’re choice Laurent,as for me I can’t wait to take the vaccine and if possible maybe with a vaccine passport hopefully I will be in Thailand. Everyone has a choice at the end of the day.

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 8:41 am

      Why don’t you go now? You sure can

  16. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Do people realize that there are _already_ virus strains that vaccines are ineffective against? Learn to live with the viruses – it’s not going away and mutates faster than vaccines will be created.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      It’s a lot easier to “live with the viruses” if you’re vaccinated against at least some of them.

      Difficult to see what’s so hard to undertand about that.

    • Avatar


      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      Mel, we obviously approach this mess differently. You’re a right wing guy and I’m a middle of the road guy. You’ve called me a moron and I feel the same way about you. You’re the kind of person that has no empathy for others. Screw them if it gets in the way of your life. You just care about yourself. I think what you write is rubbish.

      Life in America is not the same as before. We are not back to normal. Same with the UK and Europe. China is almost back to normal so what does that tell you?

      Instead of listening to your fake unknowledgeable opinions on variants and other calamities we have to accept and face, I look at the stock prices of the vaccine makers such as Moderna and BioNTech. People that bet big money hire real experts to assess efficacy, variants, etc. and if the vaccines didn’t work it would be reflected in these stock prices – they would drop like a stone. The stocks are performing well so the vaccines appear to work from an efficacy standpoint and against all variants so far. I’ll put my money on them and not you.

      • Avatar


        Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:43 am

        “Life in America is not the same as before. We are not back to normal. Same with the UK and Europe. China is almost back to normal so what does that tell you?”

        Tells me that East Asia has widespread resistance to sarscov2, and the virus isn’t that bad. We will return to normal when the media stops scaring people needlessly. US and UK have already established a high degree of natural immunity.

        99.8% of infected people survived during the first year, and the survival rate is only going to increase as herd immunity spreads. So it’s not really selfish to expect people learn to live with the risk. What is selfish is expecting the whole world to stay in lockdown indefinitely because of a new flu bug.

  17. Avatar


    Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:16 am

    Nobody I know is interested in “low risk” places to travel regarding covid. If you want low risk, you shouldn’t be travelling.

    People want to go to places that have low restrictions. That’s not Asia and won’t be for many years unless they get in gear.

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