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Expats should be able to share in the government’s tourism incentive programs

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Expats should be able to share in the government’s tourism incentive programs | Thaiger

by Expat Life

Newly elected President of the Thailand Hotels Association and Vice President of Sukosol Hotels, Marisa Sukosol, was asked what her thoughts were about the Thailand Together government travel stimulus campaign. Although close to 5 million people have registered, only 600,000 hotel rooms have been booked at this stage, well below initial estimates.

“The project would have more bookings if it allowed expats to utilise the privilege as well. There are up to 500,000 expat residents in Thailand. More bookings will benefit the hotels naturally. Instead of travelling abroad or to neighbouring destinations, Thailand has a host of second-tier destinations that can offer a variety of unique experiences”.

“There are also certain conditions in the Thailand Together campaign that can be changed such as 3 days advance booking rules. Domestic and even short-haul travellers book at the very last-minute.”

Bangkok Post reported recently that expats spend significantly more per head than Thai travellers whilst on holiday in Thailand.

“As you are aware, most hotels have “Thai Resident Packages” and rates that are available to not just for Thais but all residents. There are great deals in the market now, as hotels need income. Most have closed since March and only 40-50% have reopened, running at less than 10% occupancy.”

“May I offer some thoughts on the hotel sector at this time. The hotel industry cannot persist much longer without opening our borders to travellers. Less than 50% of all hotels have reopened, most are running at single digit occupancies. Some are considering re-closing because of low demand.”

“So, it is imperative that we start to allow general tourists to travel into Thailand, albeit with restrictions and strict guidelines. Protecting the health and wellbeing of communities needs to be our government’s prime concern. While doing this, we also have to change people’s sentiment toward foreign travellers.”

“The chance of anyone carrying the virus will be extremely slim, not everyone has the virus and all have been screened before travelling into the country and also tested after arrival. Social distancing and hygiene measures need to be reinforced and containment of the spread, if detected, has to be managed. I have the highest confidence that the Thai government and Thailand has been extremely successful at managing the outbreak, but we also have to realise that realistically, we cannot have zero risk. There will always be risk and error. We just need to manage and keep those at a minimum.”

“With regards to the Safe and Sealed area, I fully agree. The government can open up islands, or certain zones within an island where travellers can be quarantined in a resort, and be provided access to the pool or the beach on a rotation basis. The private sector has had the opportunity to share our thoughts regarding unlocking travel at several forums.”

“The government has been very inclusive in this process. I think that no matter what the restrictions will be, we have to start somewhere. Travellers are poised to travel to Thailand, October will be a good time to begin.”

“THA’s biggest concern now is helping SMEs survive during the crisis. Hotels are still a viable business. We are just setback temporarily by the pandemic. What can we do to help owners keep employees and survive financially through this tough period. Banks need to be ease restrictions for soft loan financing. Perhaps the government can set up a fund to assist the hotel sector with short-term financing.”

Expats should be able to share in the government's tourism incentive programs | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: President of the Thailand Hotels Association and VP of Sukosol Hotels, Marisa Sukosol – Issuu

SOURCE: Expat Life

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Bjørn Kåre Martinsen Lande

    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I have heard from returning expats that chose to utilize “5 star hotels” that they have been served rice soup for breakfast. If I would choose to spend 75-100.000 baht for 14 nights in quarantine I would expect at least one meal with red imported meat and a minimum of 10 beer on the house every day if I want to enjoy. Furthermore English speaking channels in the room is a must. Thailand is pricing themself out of the market I am afraid. Even in Arabic countries travellers are better cared for.
    Ofcourse, this is Thailand and I understand and even appreciate the patriotism and nationalism they show, however at this point it feels downright hostile to even embark on such a venture during these times. The so called quarantine hotels need to check on western standards before putting up any form of quality stamp related to stars as well as suggesting changes to how quarantine is managed. I do not care about the pool in quarantine, I care about not being treated as a prisoner.

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 6:58 am

      Better cared for in Arab countries?! BS! I’ve had residency in 2 GCC countries and visted another on a few occasions.

  2. Avatar

    Nouvel

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Being a boutique htl GM in Samui, I can confirm that I am deeply in line with k. Marisa Sukosol over each of her suggestions. Not improving the market help the various ways she ask for, will see the definite closing of thousands of hotels pretty soon. We are all strangled to death at this time. Thai people should be helped to sort out from their mind the collective hysteria & paranoia about the virus to let millions start to get back to normal life and fight pragmactically against it like in many countries now. During a war you cannot expect 0 casualty to save millions of people and a country to lose freedom.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I doubt than any foreigners will be allowed the deal described above as Thais.
    This would go against years of mindset that compels Thais to be racist against any other race.
    Foreigners will not be allowed any money off hotels equivalent to Thais.
    Ever seen a Thai giving back a deposit to a foreigner? There will be tears in the Thai’s eyes – it breaks their hearts. lol
    If they cannot make a foreigner pay more, they will cut down on the quality, or quantity that they will give to a Thai.

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Expats

Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers

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Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers | Thaiger

Thailand is looking to make it easier for expats and long-term visa holders to stay in the country. The Immigration Bureau is hoping to boost investments and the economy once the pandemic is over. The proposed changes could do away with 90 day reporting requirements which have been well-received by expats.

Recently, the online website to report 90 day check-ins has been down, citing maintenance issues. Hotel staff have also been dealing with the TM-30 reporting system being down. Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities Thailand, told the Bangkok Post that immigration hoops are a key pain point for foreigners working in Thailand.

“We want to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Thailand.”

Meanwhile, plans to help Thailand recover economically have been detailed in a framework to be proposed to the government’s economic panel in the next month. Improvements to immigration regulations, work permits for foreign experts, and visa applications are on the framework list. Relaxing location reporting requirements for foreign workers which is done through the 90 day reporting, is also slated to be amended.

The framework also will include inducements for foreign investors such as corporate income-tax cuts, relaxed property-holding rules and incentives for retirees and start-up companies. An adviser to Thailand’s Deputy PM, says he aims to bring in 1 million retirees or pensioners over the next few years. He says expats could collectively contribute as much as 1.2 trillion baht to the economy each year. But Thailand’s gross domestic product growth won’t return to pre-Covid levels until the 3rd quarter of 2022, according to the Bank of Thailand.

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Expats

Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand

Tim Newton

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Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand | Thaiger

In amongst a sea of bad new over the past week, a glimmer of hope for expats and long-stay travellers. You better sit down…

The Thai government are looking into changing the long standing 90 day reporting for people staying in Thailand longer than 90 days on a long-stay visa. But don’t get out the champagne just yet.

For the last few decades any foreigner staying in Thailand for more than 90 days had to report to Thai Immigration about their current whereabouts. Immigration officials added an online alternative a few years ago but its reliability has been patchy.

As far as The Thaiger can tell, the online reporting has been down for at least 3 months. (Comment below if you’ve had a different experience)

The Bangkok Post reports that the changes form part of a strategy “to boost investment and tourism revenue”.

For hotels that have had to report the arrival and location of any foreign arrivals, the equally unpopular TM30 form, the online posting of this information has also been equally patchy over the last few months (many hotels simply don’t bother – it’s up to YOU to insist they check you in with the Immigration system).

Though there has been no official announcement made at this stage, the desperation for visitors and tourist, that used to fuel up to 20% of Thailand’s annual GDP, is forcing all departments to look at relaxing earlier draconian or outdated paperwork in favour of encouraging more arrivals, during the Covid-era or or after.

Immigration officials have often cited the need to track transnational crime as the reason to maintain its strict, and often inconvenient, rules – 90 day reporting, TM30s and TM 28s.

But none of this has reached beyond proposal stage at the moment but, according to the head of a government taskforce investigating the proposals at the moment, there will never be a better time to bring Thailand’s immigration and investment rules into the 21st century.

Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities, in now leading a Thai government economic panel to recommend changes that will make it easier for investors and travellers to enter into, and stay, in Thailand, according to Bangkok Post.

Even on their most optimistic guesses, the Bank of Thailand says GDP is unlikely to return to pre-Civd levels until Q3, this year. Many pundits would say this is optimistic, indeed.

Other groups to fall between the immigration cracks, up to now, have included the digital nomads – people who want to work remotely, anywhere, anytime. Their creed is ‘have laptop and wifi – can work’. Most digital nomads have used various visas, and border hops, to keep living and working in Thailand. Under current rules, their work has been, strictly, illegal and a specific visa wold allow the Thai government to better control this huge resource and tax them more effectively.

Mr Chayotid says that Thailand doesn’t “want to be left behind and die with old technology”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines

Tim Newton

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Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines | Thaiger

“About 10,000 people are being vaccinated around Thailand, on average, with 14,000 people being vaccinated each day in Phuket.”

Private hospitals and institutions have been given the official go-ahead to purchase up to 10 million doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing. The major sticking point, despite the approval, however, continues to be the world supply shortage of vaccines, with demand far outstripping current supply.

The CCSA’s Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced that the Thai PM had approved the privatisation of vaccines but maintained that the roll out of free vaccines for Thais and people at risk would continue at full pace. The Thai government have been fending off accusations that it was blocking the acquisition of vaccines by private companies and hospitals. The 10 million doses approved for private purchases actually allows about 5 million vaccinated people with most of the approved vaccines needing 2 doses.

The spokesperson explained that the Thai government needs to have 40 million Thais vaccinated before they would be able to claim any scientific level of herd immunity. The public health minister said that around 10,000 people per day are being vaccinated around the country, on average. About 350,000 doses have arrived in Thailand and 1.5 million more doses are awaiting delivery for this month, according to the Thai PM.

The order allows the private sector to use a letter of approval from the Thai government to purchase its own supplies separately. Or, alternatively, to purchase directly from the government and resell to customers.

The government’s current order for vaccines is enough for around 35 million people with a local supplier, manufacturing the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine under license, from June this year.

Dr Taweesilp also urged private companies to target and purchase vaccines from manufacturers other than the vaccine companies the Thai government were already dealing with.

The following vaccines are currently approved in Thailand…

  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)
  • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)
  • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Single dose)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)

There are also current applications pending from other vaccine producers which will likely be approved in coming weeks.

Many expats have been chasing information about when they could expect to be vaccinated. Despite some promises from the government there has been little concrete information about formalities to register for vaccination at this stage. Meanwhile many expats have indicated they were prepared to pay for their vaccination but were unable to get clarification from private hospitals about when that may be available.

In Phuket the provincial government has promised ALL registered residents, local or foreign, that they would be eligible for government-funded vaccination. There has been a flurry of activity on the island over the past 2 weeks since the ‘Sandbox’ proposal was approved, in principal, for a July re-opening of quarantine-free tourism to vaccinated travellers. There has been queues and waiting lists at the island’s public hospitals every day for the past week. Currently some 14,000 people are being vaccinated every day, on average.

Meanwhile, the events of the past few days – the closure of entertainment venues and bars in 41 provinces, including all the main tourist areas – will force the government to re-consider any scheduled plans to re-open borders and reduction of quarantine times. Travellers are still allowed to visit Thailand, under new guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

What you currently need to enter Thailand…

  • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)
  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in your country
  • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000
  • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Anyone considering travelling to Thailand at this time is recommended to check with the Thai embassy in their country first, before making bookings of ASQ hotels or flights.

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