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Major tourism operator calls on government to restart Test & Go

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Shutterstock

The board chairman of Minor International has called on the Thai government to reinstate the suspended Test & Go entry scheme. Failing that, William Heinecke says they should expand the number of sandbox destinations, according to a Bangkok Post report. Minor International is based in Bangkok and its businesses include Minor Hotels, which operates 530 properties, including the Anantara, Four Seasons, and Radisson Blu brands.

In an open letter to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, Mr Heinecke says the government needs to acknowledge that the Omicron variant causes milder illness than previous variants and therefore it needs to be handled differently. He says instead of shutting the country to foreign tourists, the government must focus on vaccinating the unvaccinated and rolling out booster doses.

The Bangkok Post reports that Heinecke wants to see the Thai government welcome tourists in the same manner as other countries. With the Omicron variant, measures such as mandatory health insurance and advance hotel bookings are not necessary, he says. Foreign tourists should only have to provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test in order to enter Thailand.

Despite this, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says the Test & Go entry scheme may be resumed only once the Omicron situation improves. Yuthasak Supasorn says that so far, the variant is not affecting tourism sentiment on the southern island of Phuket. He says he met with Phuket governor Narong Woonsiew on Monday, with Narong reporting that most infected tourists are asymptomatic or only exhibit mild symptoms. These patients are given a choice of being admitted to hospital or self-isolating in their hotel room or in a dedicated hospitel. Yuthasak says most tourists opt to isolate in their hotel rooms.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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