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Pent-up demand for outbound Thai travel sparks new travel bubble talks

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Pent-up demand for outbound Thai travel sparks new travel bubble talks | The Thaiger
PHOTO: GTP Headlines
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Travel bubbles are back on the table as countries in the region battle to find some safe solution to their tourist shortfall. Thailand, in particular, earns such a high proportion of its GDP from travel and tourism, that it is seeing a major financial shortfall after closing its borders. This, in the context of no new Special Tourist Visa applications so far in November.

So the TAT, Public Health department and Sports and Tourism minister, are now talking up the possibility of travel bubbles, aka. green lanes, between similar low-risk countries without quarantine requirements. They say it’s a crucial step to help the Thai tourism industry. They also recognise a pent-up demand for outbound travel, according to the Thai Travel Agents Association.

But even the TTAA president, Suthiphong Pheunphiphop, recognises that any progress will be slow and that, initially, it would only be low-risk countries in the immediate region that would be able to take advantage of a no-quarantine entry, even if it is approved by Thai authorities. Yesterday a Covid Taskforce proposed to the CCSA that a travel bubble be established with 22 low-risk provinces in China. That proposal is yet to be discussed.

Suthiphong say that the first step would be for a reciprocal arrangement that would allow Thai outbound travel operators to start filling up departure flights. Speaking to the Bangkok Post, he noted that quarantine remains an obstacle to tourism.

“If people can travel without concerns about quarantine, both in destination and origin countries, more trips will be made, even without a vaccine available.”

He also recognised that the magic pill, a viable and safe vaccine, is not likely until at least the middle of next year, but travellers are ready to adapt to safety measures and to protect themselves while outside Thailand.

For now the prospect of travel bubbles, changes to the current Special Tourist Visa, conflicting information from Thai government departments and a dynamic Covid situation globally, make the situation very fluid. The Thai Public Health and Foreign ministries acknowledge that situation “is uncertain” and most countries are preferring their citizens to support local tourism for now.

400 outbound tour operators, TTAA members, remain temporarily closed due to a lack of customers.

Yesterday the Thai government said they will consider a no-quarantine travel bubble plan with some provinces in China. Officials hope that, if approved, the scheme could be put into operation in time for Chinese New Year in February. China currently has 22 low-risk provinces, as they have not recorded a Covid-19 case in over 150 days. The proposal will now have to be discussed in the CCSA where the Thai PM remains as chairman.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    November 7, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    “Speaking to the Bangkok Post, he noted that quarantine remains an obstacle to tourism.” – Water is wet comment. Thailand would seem like a perfect candidate for travel bubbles with other low risk countries. Of course the idea of virtually unregulated tourism without a quarantine even from low risk countries might worry some living in Thailand. If the government wants to head down this rabbit hole, they need to start preparing the population. They need to begin slaying the covid-19 terror they have instilled within the public. If so, I wonder if they will allow citizens of third party countries entry after traveling through an approved country for 14 days? For example, Japan plans to begin allowing foreigners starting in April as a lead in for the Olympics. If Japan has a travel bubble with Thailand could a citizen of say GB travel to Japan for 14 days and then use the Japanese travel bubble to enter Thailand? Many countries currently allow this, but a few do not. Just wondering.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 7, 2020 at 2:59 pm

      Excellent point.

      A number of people, particularly wealthy overseas students, exploited the loophole early on in the pandemic in order to get to wherever they wanted, some acknowledging (and some boasting) that they’d spent twenty or thirty thousand dollars or more going via third party countries.

      At that time some countries were being rather naive, not requiring any 14 day transition period, while others were doing the opposite and going strictly by nationality so someone living in a high-risk country could fly back to their own low-risk country then straight on to another.

      … and that’s without wondering about those with dual-nationality exploiting that can of worms …

      • Avatar

        EdwardV

        November 7, 2020 at 11:17 pm

        John, I wasn’t really talking about these mythical loopholes you keep talking about. I’m talking about countries in effect outsourcing their quarantine requirement to what they consider safe third party countries. For example, Italy’s allows any foreign national to enter if they had spent the prior 14 days in one of their approved safe entry countries and pass a covid-19 test. It’s not a loophole, it’s an approved and even encouraged method of entry to people who otherwise are not allowed to travel direct. If someone contacts the Italian embassy, they will actually explain the process to those wishing to return or enter. The Italians know exactly what they are doing, as does the third party countries. Italy isn’t the only country that does this.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 8, 2020 at 2:55 pm

          Understood, Ed V, but I don’t see why there’d be any reason for Thailand to do that – why should they?

          What would Thailand stand to gain?

          Their circumstances are different to Italy’s and other countries doing it, and Thailand only stands to lose from outsourcing it. If someone’s prepared to put up with 14 days quarantined in, say, China or Australia, before going on to Thailand, and Thailand’s prepared to accept that, why would Thailand not want them to do the quarantine here so that the ASQ Thai hotel (or ASQ Thai golf course) could profit from it rather than China or Australia?

          (and the loopholes I was talking about were anything but “mythical”, but well-documented if seldom used due to the cost)

          • Avatar

            EdwardV

            November 9, 2020 at 9:33 am

            John, you are tripping over dollars to pick up pennies. Thailand has said time and again they need to limit the STV numbers to 1,200 per month because its the most they can process. Yes there is money to be made with the quarantine, but it pales in comparison to the amount that can be made from increasing the total number of tourists. Outsourcing a portion of the quarantine increases the numbers without Thailand needing to spend on increased processing capacity. It also outsources risk, always a good thing. Fact is people don’t want to pay to quarantine and certainly not Thailand’s inflated prices. Japan intends to start allowing tourists with heavy testing and tracking in April as a lead up to the Olympics. Why not allow those tourists who stay in Japan over 14 days to travel in an upcoming green lane into Thailand? Italy allows tourist from Croatia (who doesn’t require a quarantine) to enter after staying for 14 days and passing an test. I don’t really see much difference. There are other countries in SE Asia who will be opening up in a limited way soon. If Thailand feels they are safe enough for it’s citizens, why not those from a third country? All the benefit without the cost and risk. Win, win.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    November 7, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t see any evidence of any “pent-up outbound demand” given either in this article or the original BP article, despite the headlines. Other than those wanting to see the Olympics, assuming they’re still on, I wonder if there really still is any?

  3. Avatar

    rr

    November 7, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    travel bubble is a stale stuff, people must be tested and if negative let free to roam. period.

  4. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    November 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    The problem is also and MAINLY the quarantine on the way back!

  5. Avatar

    Jason

    November 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Countries have had months to decide these matters. Thailand’s government won’t let people in, even from low-risk countries. I’m an Australian citizen and due to the discipline of my people, our covid numbers are now lower than Thailand. But the Seychelles recognise that I’m from a low risk country. So I can either take 14 days quarantine in an ASQ Hotel or just fly to Seychelles and enjoy a good holiday. Which would you choose??

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 8, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      ” I’m an Australian citizen and due to the discipline of my people, our covid numbers are now lower than Thailand.”

      I’m not so sure that’s true; you’ve certainly had more deaths than Thailand in both the last week and the last month, and 80% of your cases are locally transmitted.

  6. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    November 7, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Air links have essentially been completely cut with the country and most tourist related businesses have been mothballed.
    If they allowed people into the country without jumping through all the hoops how are they going to get here and what will they do during there holiday?

  7. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 7, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Another scheme that will come to nothing because the stupid Thais will not let go of their unreasonable, unrealistic, expensive restrictions.
    What has happened to the special deal for the Chinese, few came, and this month none will come.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 8, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      You mean like all the other presumably equally stupid countries in the region which have equally “unreasonable, unrealistic, expensive restrictions”?

  8. Avatar

    Dirty Farang

    November 7, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Please, Mr. Prayut, make a travel bubble just for me 🙏🙏🙏🥰

  9. Avatar

    Al

    November 8, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    All of this massive hullabaloo over something which has not even been proven to exist.

    And yet how many people die from hunger every day?
    Let’s have a look…. ooops! Cannot post link, but according to the UN
    “Losing 25,000 to Hunger Every Day”

    Now, imagine if all the media attention and monstrous amounts of time spent on those poor souls who are delivered into this realm, and then left to daily die from the sin of being hungry, there just maybe a reduction in such shocking numbers.

    And all those numbers thrown, nay, spewed forth, from the mainscream media of con-vid ‘cases’ and ‘infected’ were actually honestly shown to have actually gotten over it and lived, there maybe a positive mind shift.
    But keepya watching and sucking on that big fat nipple and all that BS coming freely and daily from the usual culprits. You know who they are…… if ya don’t know, here’s an easy question? How is it sailing down that river in Egypt?

  10. Avatar

    AI

    November 12, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    No replies? 55!
    Any proof the virus actually exists yet? Good luck with that.

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Thai netizens say pro-government royalists carried out Wednesday’s protest shootings

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Thai netizens say pro-government royalists carried out Wednesday’s protest shootings | The Thaiger
Thailand’s netizens are refuting police’s claims that pro-democracy protesters carried out Wednesday’s rally shootings. The shootings occurred at the rally site near Bangkok’s Siam Commerical Bank head office, where the rally site was originally planned but was then moved after protesters tried to avoid a clash with pro-government royalists. However, shots were fired, with police arresting a suspect on charges of attempted murder, shooting in public without reason, and carrying a firearm in public.

The netizens found footage of the scene, in which they say they identified the faces of the offenders. The revelation came after Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Piya Tawichai blamed Ratsadon guards for the shootings and injuries.

Meanwhile, the pro-democracy leaders have been called into questionby donors to the movement, as they have criticised how the leaders have used the donations, when a guard was shot and injured. Netizens took to social media to ask what “fairy godmother” Inthira “Sine” Charoenpura and Pakorn “Hia Bung” Pornchewangkurn were buying with the donation money with some online comments mentioning the display of yellow ducks and props as a poor use of donation funds. Some criticisers pointed towards using the donations to buy protective gear for protesters after the shootings occurred, prompting the 2 leaders to issue a statement that they would now use such funds for the injured guards.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Thai protests to continue in full force into December in line with symbolic calendar events

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Thai protests to continue in full force into December in line with symbolic calendar events | The Thaiger

The pro-democracy protests are set to continue well into December, according to Thai security officials. Officials have been preparing to cope with a rise in anti-government activities as symbolic calendar events are coming up. Today the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group says a protest will take place outside the 1st Infantry Battalion on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Phaya Thai District, giving credit to the predictions that there will no end in sight to the protests.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a secretary to PM’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai, made the announcement yesterday in light of the Constitutional Court being set to pass a ruling this Wednesday on whether PM Prayut is guilty of occupying a house that is meant for military officials.

Prayut is accused by the opposition of engaging in the conflict of interest by occupying the army residence. Such a move should have ended with his army chief tenure in 2014, according to critics.

Following the upcoming ruling on Wednesday, the symbolic calendar event of Constitution Day falls on December 10, a day which will ignite more protests as one of the main demands of pro-democracy demonstrators is to have a new Thai charter, along with the resignation of Prayut and reform of the Thai monarchy.

But despite the anticipated rise in rallies, security officials have ruled out the possibility of a military coup. Critics remain sceptical as many demonstrators claim the government has put police on the front lines of the protests, dressed in yellow shirts, in an attempt to spark a clash to pave the way for a coup. The current PM, when he was the head of the Thai Army in 2014, also said there would be “no coup” against the elected Yingluck Shinawatra government. A month later the NCPO led a bloodless coup and installed Prayut Chan-o-cha as the interim prime minister.

Piya Tawichai, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, says protesters yesterday gathered near the Imperial World Samrong shopping mall in Samut Prakan before marching to the Bang Na intersection to rally, partially blocking the road. According to Kissana Phathanacharoen, the deputy spokesman for the national police, the protesters did not obtain permission for staging the rally.

Some protesters also reportedly spray-painted traffic police kiosks with messages that criticised the police for “ditching the people,” and smashed kiosk windows. Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a protest leader, posted on Facebook yesterday that she has been summoned for violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which bans anyone from criticising the King which states:

“Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

Rung says she believes the summons is linked to the September 10 anti-government rally.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Chiang Rai

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia

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Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The entrance to the real Tham Luang cave near the Myanmar border in far north Thailand

The Australian Government is putting up A$13 million to Imagine Entertainment and film giant MGM to shoot a live-action feature film called Thirteen Lives, based on the Chiang Rai Tham Luang cave rescue story. The film will be shot in Queensland, Australia in the hinterland areas behind the Gold Coast.

The film will be directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, The Da Vince Code, Cocoon, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Splash, Frost/Nixon), and start filming in March 2021. The state’s Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand with a similar hot, humid climate.

The Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, says the production ishould inject more than A$96 million into the Australian economy, “directly creating around 435 jobs for cast and crew”.

Thirteen Lives will tell the remarkable story of the effort by many volunteers, including Australians, to undertake an incredibly complex rescue. And I am proud to say that this story will be told here in Australia.”

“I understand this project will also undertake a significant amount of cutting-edge visual effects work here, a great opportunity for our local post, digital and visual effects companies.”

Thirteen Lives follows the true story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding in Chiang Rai, far north Thailand. After the team was stuck for days with no supplies and falling oxygen levels, a group of diving and rescue experts from all over the world were called up to work together with their Thai counterparts to save the 13 young men. Among those experts were a group of divers from the United Kingdom and Australia.

The first major feature film about the rescue operation was The Cave, released in October 2019. The film was quite critical of the Thai red-tape which hampered much of the early rescue efforts.

Ron Howard has worked with plenty of Australians in the past.

“From Thirteen Lives to the animated projected I am directing with Animal Logic in Australia, I am excited about the opportunity to film and work in Australia and dramatically expand on that list of collaborators whose sensibilities and work ethic I have long admired and respected.”

Imagine Entertainment and MGM’s Thirteen Lives will be distributed by Universal Pictures International.

Watch a message from director Ron Howard HERE.

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