Foreign Ministry officials plan to coordinate with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to make the processing of international arrivals more efficient. The Bangkok Post reports that hundreds of foreigners are awaiting approval to enter the Kingdom, whether through the Special Tourist Visa scheme or as Elite Card holders, or one of the other handfuls of visa-type allowed to return to Thailand at this time. Thapanee Kiatphaibool from the TAT says the increased demand (and no doubt, the onerous paperwork involved) is slowing things down.
“Thailand is allowing more groups to cross the border, so more documents need to be approved by the Foreign Ministry to grant a certificate of eligibility to tourists. We will do our best to help facilitate foreigners.”
The Thai penchant for red tape and paperwork is hampering the processing of travellers wishing to come to Thailand at this time.
14 Elite Card members have arrived in Thailand and completed the 14 day quarantine. 34 are still in quarantine. 4 additional members have just been granted their COE and are now waiting for flights. It’s understood none of the current STV applicants have received the certificate of eligibility (despite a week of claims of “imminent arrival” from various spokespeople).
A group of 120 Chinese visitors expected to land at Phuket Airport yesterday have had their visit postponed so as to not clash with the province’s Vegetarian Festival. It’s understood officials did not want to deter anxious Thais from travelling to the festival over fears of a resurgence of Covid-19.
Thapanee says officials are also working on enticing foreign investors to Thailand, with property developers being asked to throw in Elite Card membership as part of real estate sales. Foreigners with a minimum of US$1 million to invest in the Kingdom may also be granted work permits.
Meanwhile, the TAT is hopeful domestic tourism will remain strong for the last quarter of the year. 62 million domestic trips were recorded between January and September. Proudputh Liptapanlop who runs Proud Real Estate, with hotels in Phuket and Hua Hin, says the extra holidays, coupled with the government’s stimulus campaign, have boosted occupancy rates. The 2 Hua Hin hotels operated by the group fared best, recording 50% occupancy, as opposed to the Phuket hotel, which had a 20% occupancy rate.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post