Connect with us

Tourism

Plan on the table to allow Europe’s ‘snowbirds’ into Thailand for up to 9 months

Published

 on 

Another day, another ‘plan’ flown up the pole to see if it will catch some wind. This time a prominent health provider claims the government is developing a new ‘visa’ for sunseekers. If adopted it could allow foreigners to stay in Thailand on a long-stay visa for up to 9 months. Nothing has been finalised as yet but Boon Vanasin, the chairman of Thonburi Healthcare Group, says the special visa would help reboot the country’s devastated tourism industry.

Although Thailand has allowed domestic travel, and provided stimulus packages to encourage Thais to travel, there is currently no plan in place to allow foreign tourists back into the country.

Thonburi Healthcare Group is the country’s third largest private hospital firm, which runs hospitals and retirement homes.

In this development of the original “Phuket Plan”, long-term visitors would start their ‘holiday’ with the mandatory 14 day quarantine, plus testing, in Phuket. Then they’d be clear to roam around the island for their third week. After 3 weeks on the island the visitors would be free to travel to other parts of Thailand. Dr Boon says he has “direct knowledge of the government’s plan”. He said members of the government were keen to start the program before the northern winter kicks in.

Dr. Boon has good reason to hope the government plan is approved – around 90% of the Thonburi Healthcare Group’s customers before the Covid-19 border closures were international.

The ‘longer’ short-term visa would offer a partial lease of life to the country’s tourism and hospitality industries – both almost obliterated after 5 months without any foreign visitors. Thailand, which last year attracted nearly 40 million foreign visits, has attracted zero tourists since the borders were closed in early April. Tourist magnets like Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui have watched their economies almost vanish despite the government’s best efforts to promote domestic tourism.

The new plan being studied in Thailand would, in theory, make it possible for millions of ‘snowbirds’ from Europe’s northern climates, who usually spend their winters in warmer Mediterranean and Caribbean climates, to look at “safe” Thailand as an alternative this year.

Dr. Boon claimed his company had been contacted by European retirement communities that could realise up to 50,000 seniors heading to Thailand for the coming northern winter. He says the government should target the retirees and high-income earners who could value-add during the visit to the country.

“Many seniors don’t want to spend their time in a cold harsh winter. They want tropical weather.”

Thai Airways International said it would operate at least two such flights a month starting in late November to connect Phuket with countries including Denmark, Germany and the UK.

But it’s unclear if the government either intends to allow so many foreigners into Thailand at this stage, or even if they have the capacity to handle the numbers safely and ensure that registered hotels are able to track the guests. The week the CCSA announced they were considering plans to lift the border gate to allow long-stay visitors and foreigners who own property in Thailand. But they acknowledged that this would only be “hundreds” of people and not solve the country’s tourism woes.

More than 6.7 million Europeans visited Thailand in 2019 , contributing some 461 billion baht to the economy. The European contingent made up 17% of Thailand’s total foreign visits and 24% of foreign spending. The expedition to places like Phuket and Koh Samui became a regular ‘winter’ break lasting 2 weeks to several months for the Northern European visitors.

Plan on the table to allow Europe's 'snowbirds' into Thailand for up to 9 months | News by Thaiger

The Thai PM has acknowledged the parlous situation for the country’s tourism destinations and the millions of people that are not only unemployed but now running out of savings as well. Whilst there appears to be some urgency to officially announce some sort of pilot scheme, no firm details have been announced about any of these travel bubble or limited-access plans.

HERE‘s all the latest FAQs about coming back into Thailand.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Road deaths28 mins ago

UPDATE: Chon Buri police couldn’t find victim of car crash… on the back seat

Protests42 mins ago

‘Democracy Must Go On:’ Protestors have three demands for Thailand’s government

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand News Today | Opposition to Thailand govt hosting former Sri Lanka president

Sponsored8 hours ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of the truth set for September 3

Bangkok1 hour ago

Bangkok OAP arrested after slapstick armed robbery of gold shop

Phuket2 hours ago

Phuket officials say no human trafficking cases found in island province

Hong Kong2 hours ago

Hong Kong seizes 20 million baht of heroin hidden in Thai kickboxing pads

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime3 hours ago

Nigerian and Vietnamese couple found dead linked to drug trade

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand workers could earn over 100,000 baht in Saudi Arabia

Chon Buri4 hours ago

Mountain B victims to be compensated by Thailand govt

Pattaya4 hours ago

Free noodles for beach cleaners after Pattaya Music Festival mess

Thailand5 hours ago

CCSA to give thumbs up to 4am licensing in Thailand next week

Tourism5 hours ago

Lots of Hong Kongers are searching for flights to Bangkok

Chon Buri6 hours ago

Death toll of Mountain B fire rises to 17

Economy7 hours ago

Bangkok No.1 in Asia-Pacific for MICE destinations

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Covid-19 “hospitel” isolation in Thailand to end September 1

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending