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International tourists ‘essential’ to Thai economy, PM says

Caitlin Ashworth

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International tourists ‘essential’ to Thai economy, PM says | The Thaiger
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“If nothing is done, things will get worse. Premises will be shut down. Employees will be laid off. How can the government afford to help them all?”

Thailand needs tourists to pick its economy back up, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says, adding that a system needs to be put in place that would both prevent the spread of the coronavirus and also allow international tourists to enter Thailand again.

While there have been many concerns about allowing international tourists into the country, Thailand’s economy is dependent on tourism. Prayut says opening up the country to international travellers is “essential.”

“If nothing is done, things will get worse. Premises will be shut down. Employees will be laid off. How can the government afford to help them all?”

Of course not everything will happen all at once, and visiting Thailand won’t necessarily be easy. Opening borders could bring on a potential second wave of the coronavirus. Prayut says only a limited number of tourists will be allowed to enter at first to test out the country’s coronavirus control measures, making sure there are no virus transmissions. He says the tourists will be monitored and if Covid-19 is detected, they will be able to contain it.

“There will be forms to fill in. Flights must be traceable. When they reach their destinations their whereabouts will have to be confirmed and they will be isolated from others.”

The prime minister says he hopes the public welcome the foreigners into the country because locals will directly benefit from the business tourists will bring. However, some locals have not been welcoming to foreigners that have been in Thailand throughout the pandemic. Posts on Facebook have reported bans on foreigners. Earlier this month, Bangkok Midnight Marathon banned foreigners from signing up for a race, but then apologised and removed the ban. They said the ban was aimed to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

“Not allowing foreign nationals was a step to ensure that people with a travel history do not mix with the ones who didn’t travel. We didn’t take into account that there are many expats who would want to join the race and have fun with the locals.”

SOURCES:Bangkok Post | Facebook

 

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    August 26, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Someone told him that 2 trillion thb were depending on it directly and another 1 to 1.5 trillion indirectly?
    Too late for this season, the scheme they have in mind is only OK for the returnees… (A drop in the bucket).

    When you can travel freely to the Maldives, Turkey and soon the Philippines, why locking you down in Phuket? Senseless…

  2. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    August 26, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    If the public does not want to welcome foreigners, they will take their tourist dollars to another place.

  3. Avatar

    Pedro

    August 26, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    If the PM wants International tourists, how come I feel distinctly unwelcome to return with all the restrictions his Government will place on me as to where I can go and where I must stay? Foreign tourists will not want all the form filling and constant monitoring of their location as it is very ‘Big Brother’. They will go somewhere more welcoming. The Thai economy will go to the dogs.

    • Avatar

      Albert

      August 27, 2020 at 4:05 am

      So far no one talking about the People which still outside Thailand for Month’s, apart from there Families. Those can not enter Thailand because Wife and/or Kids not Thai Citizen. Most of them live in Thailand already for years, spend huge amount of Money, support Economy, some both Condos.
      NO ONE TALK ABOUT THEM>

  4. Avatar

    Dirty Farang

    August 26, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    I guess Mr. Prayut is the only one in the government who understands what tourism and expats means to the country. If the other cabinet members keep bashing on tourists and expats (aka “dirty farang”), the thai society can say good bye to the reached social welfare soon as we will burn our tourist dollars in their neighbourhood.

  5. Avatar

    Bobby m

    August 26, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Finally, some green shoots from the government.

    But listen government leaders and listen good. If you want tourists to come, you must not make it too difficult. If you do. They just will not come. you cannot expect them to isolate. The clue is in the word (Tour)ists.

    Limiting numbers will only drive up prices, so no, or they will just go to your competitors, where they feel more welcome and it’s less expensive.

    The more hoops and form filling you create for people to jump through or complete, the less chance you have of people and money, coming.

    Expensive tests no, they are mostly pointless anyway.

    Temperature checks yes

    Track and trace yes.

    Local control yes

    Face coverings yes

    Reporting of any symptoms yes

    Insurance to cover medical expenses against Covid YES (a must).

    Yes it is a risk and some people will get sick, it’s a flu virus. Most will get well too and with your record of recovery tourists will not be scared to come to you.

    Yes there will be costs to the government, but they will be far less than the tourism will bring in.

    I hope really hope you do this right and get Thailand back on its feet. You only have to look at the news to see for one. The crime rate is going through the roof as desperate people try to get money from whatever it takes.

    Act quickly.

  6. Avatar

    murika

    August 26, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    so only one month after saying that they can totally survice on domestic tourism and that new thailand will now stop being dependant on foreign money, they already go back to begging the tourist to come back…

  7. Avatar

    Ryan Lih

    August 26, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Covid test is essential for every tourist hence much be done. Have a controlled quota of Asean countries visitors into Thailand via flight and road (Malaysia & Singapore residents) at dedicated entry points. Have them take covid test and shack them in designated quarantine hotels until test results are out (2 days max), then send them off to their intended destinations. This way, local hotels will have occupancy, surrounding food businesses will have deliveries for these 2 days quarantined visitors while waiting for test results. In this way, visitors won’t feel the pinch and they can see the efficiency of the Thai health authorities. Of course, it’s easier said than done. But hey, Thailand was awarded the most successful country in controlling covid19. Furthermore, each local businesses must be vigilant in contact tracing, wearing masks, and sanitizers. Aseans are accustomed to it. So let’s do it for S. Koreans, Japanese, and surrounding countries yeah.

  8. Avatar

    Ian

    August 26, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    This is simple go to countries that want you! Clearly Thailand doesn’t want tourists from the west. They only want chinese or Russian this is very clear from the last time I went and every menu and shop signs were in Thai, Chinese and Russian it says it all…
    The airport is closed to people from the UK but 1.1 million Chinese have visited Thailand! The country that started the whole thing. An absolute joke of a corrupt government

  9. Avatar

    Nipral

    August 27, 2020 at 2:28 am

    Very simple Mr PM : either you open with little or no restriction
    for next Xmas/New Year or you die.
    Keep in mind that you have to disclose your plans NOW as international tourists
    are booking NOW. Got it ?
    We have a wealth of alternatives to choose from. Thailand is not unique.

  10. Avatar

    Remo

    August 27, 2020 at 2:39 am

    Negative covid test taken up to 72 hours before boarding the flight, and another test on arrival. Then people are asked to self isolate for up to 24 hours, till the negative result is received.

    This is what most touristic countries , like Dubai, Seychelles, Maldives, Caribian nations, Zanzibar, etc do now.

    It is safe and lets the tourism industry run.

    Thailand should follow this procedure too.

  11. Avatar

    Ritu

    August 27, 2020 at 4:24 am

    Please let Nordic countries (excluding Sweden) in, we have very few cases in Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Estonia. Sweden can wait until next spring

  12. Avatar

    SPAIN

    August 27, 2020 at 6:14 am

    I THINK THIS NEW WAY OF ACCESSING THAILAND FOR RETURNEES AND OTHER FOREIGNERS WITH FAMILIES THERE IS A GOOD IDEA. BUT FOR FOREIGN TOURISTS OF 15 DAYS, 1 MONTH (WHICH ARE THE MOST) WILL BE A BOOK BATTER. THE BIGGER THE HIT, THE MORE THE THAIS WILL OPEN THEIR EYES. I MISSED MY FLIGHT AND THE HOTELS I PAID DO NOT REFUND MY MONEY, I WILL NEVER BOOK WITH 8 MONTHS OF ANTELACION MY TRIP TO THAILAND, A DISASTER

  13. Avatar

    simon

    August 27, 2020 at 7:49 am

    Expats/Foreigners

    Locals

    In the eyes of Thai, two very different groups of people. Thailand is the only country that sees people in this way – it’s truly pathetic.

  14. Avatar

    EdwardV

    August 27, 2020 at 8:31 am

    It’s finally dawning the domestic tourist scheme was a failure. The millions of unemployed need jobs, they need paychecks. Foreign tourists want to come back to Thailand but they won’t if it’s too expensive or burdensome. It’s just too easy to go somewhere else. Yes test, track and trace. The tourists are willing to put up with some extra expense and burden, after all they want it safe too. Quarantines need to be kept to a minimum. A few days is ok, once you go past that you drive down the numbers. We all want a safe and prosperous Thailand.

  15. Avatar

    Ray W.

    August 27, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    “We didn’t take into account” should be our moto for this whole COVID catastrophe, not the virus mind you, the draconian, irrational fear based, fact-less response. By June you could tell the virus mortality models were insanely off projections. Anyone with a functional frontal cortex should have moved to open the boarders and stem the economic hemorrhaging. We are going to lose more lives in scores to the economic damage this has done. Open the boarders, make it easy on the tourists, and maybe we will be back at 2019 income and unemployment numbers by 2026… maybe.

  16. Avatar

    LJ

    August 28, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Its sad. One day they will realize that its better to get covid-19 than die of hunger. It will take years before covid-19 is completely gone (if ever). Big question is when is the right time to open up the country without all the “paper work”. Facemask, social distancing, washing hands should be of highest priority.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Opening borders could cause a second Covid-19 outbreak, epidemiologist says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Opening borders could cause a second Covid-19 outbreak, epidemiologist says | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Post

Opening Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists may open a “Pandora’s box” of Covid-19 infections, according to leading epidemiologist on the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine Thira Woratanarat. After a 6 month ban on international tourists, the first group of travellers on the new Special Tourist Visa are set to fly from China to Phuket on October 8. Thira says the move puts the country at risk of a second coronavirus outbreak.

“If the country decides to take risks, everyone must rely on themselves because this is a war between virus and humans and people need to survive… The country will be a new endemic area if the government cannot contain the spread of the disease effectively. And even if there is a Covid-19 vaccine, it might be too late.”

The 120 to 150 tourists arriving next week on the Special Tourist Visa are required to quarantine at a state approved facility for 14 days. They are also required to be tested for Covid-19 before their flight and before being released from quarantine.

Thira has been vocal for months on his disapproval for opening the borders to foreign tourists and has stood firmly against proposals like so called “travel bubbles.” He says the coronavirus cases across globe have continued to raise and warns that people in Thailand should still abide by coronavirus prevention measures like wearing a mask.

“Many countries are still under the severe pandemic and have an infection rate 20 times that of Thailand’s, so Thailand will be at a risk of becoming a pandemic hotspot after the country is reopened.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Has Thailand’s suicide rate increased due to Covid-19 restrictions? – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Has Thailand’s suicide rate increased due to Covid-19 restrictions? – VIDEO | The Thaiger

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Before Covid, around the world every 40 seconds someone lost their life to suicide and nearly 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, according to statistics from the WHO.

In Thailand, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, after road fatalities.

Now, an apparent rise in Thailand’s suicide rate, related to the country’s current business conditions, restrictions and ongoing world pandemic, is concerning health officials.

The Mental Health Department released a report in September indicating 2,551 people in Thailand had killed themselves from January to the end of July, 2020. That is up a palpable 22% compared to the same first 6 months of last year.

Health officials are citing “personal problems, economic pressures, depression and alcohol abuse” for the rise in cases that appear to be linked to Thailand’s current economic woes.

South East Asian suicide rates are generally around 20 to 30 % higher than the global average, and Thailand’s general rate was the highest suicide rate in the South East Asian region before the pandemic.

The Thai Mental Health Department Director General Kiartipoom Wongrachit believes that both isolation and pressures generated by social media have contributed to the rise.

But he also believes that social media is becoming a valuable tool to help identify self-harm behaviour and provide intervention.

“Signs of suicide have been increasing on social media. While some social media platforms have technology that can detect video clips recording self harm or suicides… there are many other signs to look out for that the technology can’t detect.”

He linked the increase in the suicide cases this year to the outbreak of the deadly virus and described the trend as “worrisome”.

A March study by Chiang Mai University also identified 38 suicide attempts that were likely linked to stress associated with the lockdown at the time. 28 of them ended up in deaths.

The research was conducted in the middle of the local lockdowns and restrictions implemented by the Thai government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In June, Oxford University also released a study on the impact of the pandemic on suicide rates in the International Journal of Medicine.

The study found stress from Covid-19 had played a part in the suicide rates and that the problem “could linger after the outbreak ends”.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Bangkok

Bangkok’s Khao San Road re-opening for local trade

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok’s Khao San Road re-opening for local trade | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Screengrab - Bangkok Extra

Bangkok’s Deputy Governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul says the capital’s iconic Khao San Road is set to re-open for trade, targeting the local market of Thais and expats. The street is normally a mecca for international tourists, in particular, younger backpackers making the rite-of-passage pilgrimage through Southeast Asia.

There was a pre-Covid botched attempt to meddle with the area’s long-established, and rather endearingly ramshackle, mixture of shops, bars, vendors and scammers. Whilst not particularly popular with the locals, the old Khao San Road was a magnet to tourists. Attempts by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority to gentrify the area resulted in a number of unsuccessful attempts to tame the traders and bring some order to the busy shopping zone.

But the closure of shops and the lack of tourists from the Covid outbreak provided the break the BMA needed to “sort out” the old Khao San Road and do a make-over for the eventual re-opening of the new Khao San Road.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the street hard, with businesses shut, and a marked absence of the international tourists who normally make up a solid 90% of Khao San’s visitors. Now Sakoltee says it’s time for the street to come back to life, saying vendors will target a new demographic of local Thais and expats whilst the borders remained largely closed.

The Bangkok Post reports that Sakoltee chaired a meeting yesterday to plan the re-opening, which it’s hoped will happen at the end of this month. It’s understood additional vendors who attract local custom will set up shop on the road, with various monthly events to boost visitor numbers.

Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang says areas surrounding the road will get a clean-up, in particular, the Chong Nonsi Khlong, or canal. Officials are planning to turn the waterway and the surrounding area into a visitor attraction, a development project that will take place in 2 stages. The first job is to clean the canal, which is currently home to weeds and rubbish. Aswin has directed 250 municipal workers to begin the clean-up operation. Trees along the canal will also be trimmed regularly, and the canal’s drainage and treatment systems are set to be revamped at some point in the future plan.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Association is also planning to create footpaths along both sides of the canal, a project that will be paid for through donations from local businesses. Aswin hopes to have all works completed by April 2021.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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