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Thai government promises more long weekends in 2021, travel bubbles after April

Maya Taylor

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Thai government promises more long weekends in 2021, travel bubbles after April | The Thaiger
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In a bid to further boost domestic tourism, the Thai government plans to create more holidays in 2021, as well as introducing travel bubbles after April. The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says every month in the coming year could have a long weekend, as homegrown tourists continue to be the main focus for at least the first quarter of 2021.

In addition, 1 million room nights will be added to the domestic travel stimulus scheme, which the government at one point had threatened to cancel, amid reports it was being abused. Furthermore, the Cabinet will meet on December 29 to discuss a new stimulus campaign for travellers aged 55 and over. The 5-billion baht scheme is aimed at helping struggling tour operators.

Despite all the stimulus measures aimed at the homegrown market, Phiphat admits international holidaymakers are still vital to the survival of Thai tourism. However, he says planning for their return has to wait right now, until the resurgence of Covid-19 in the Kingdom is brought under control.

“The ministry wants the private sector to think about possible plans for foreign tourists that could be implemented next year after Thailand controls the recent outbreak. I believe we still have a chance to see a beautiful year ahead.”

He adds that after the first quarter of 2021, the government may reinstate talks on travel bubble arrangements with other countries. While 56 countries can enter Thailand on a “visa exempt” basis, the mandatory 14-day quarantine remains the biggest barrier to reviving tourism in the country. Phiphat says that following requests from many hotels in different parts of Thailand, he will submit an “area quarantine” proposal to the government’s Covid-19 task force in early 2021.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Alte Ledertasche

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Wondering how the threat to inteoduce a lockdown in March complies with the promis of travel bubbles in April..LOL

    • Avatar

      lootarzoon

      Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Bla, bla as usual, next decision ?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 10:54 am

      There do seem to be some serious left hand / right hand differences 🙂

      • Avatar

        Peter

        Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 2:27 pm

        Even John can’t defend the stupidity, paranoia and total cluelessness that these inbreed Thai hillbillies show when the sh1t hits the fan.
        The virus figures are a joke. The virus infection rate rises exponentially.
        Who in their right mind is going risk booking a holiday to this third world holiday camp.

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 3:06 pm

          No John could, but he has realised to his sorrow, that persons on the forum are finding his excuses for Thais, rightly ridiculous.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 5:41 pm

          ‘No’ the virus figures aren’t “a joke” but are supported by all the available evidence. Fact, however unpalatable that may be for some.

          If you disagree, please explain your disagreement with the following, which so far none of the doubters such as yourself have attempted to do:

          “Mass testing is a good indicator, but so far no countries have really managed to do “mass testing”, which to be accurate needs to be of all the population and repeated regularly. None have managed anything remotely like that, and even the best have barely managed to test a quarter of the population once.

          There are alternatives that give an equally good if not better picture, but it just doesn’t suit some people’s agendas to accept them as it would make Thailand’s precautions look good and the West’s look bad:

          1. Thailand gives all government hospital inpatients a mandatory Covid-19 test; AFAIK only one has tested positive.

          2. Thailand tests all those applying for a work permit in Thailand; again, AFAIK only one has tested positive.

          3. Wherever there’s a reported outbreak of Covid-19 (as in Samut Sakhon, in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai), tracking and targeted testing takes place; the numbers testing positive are minimal, as reported here.

          4. While mass temperature testing is far from accurate it would show up at least some of the 20% who would be symptomatic if Covid was as widespread here as some imagine; it hasn’t.

          5. If Covid was as widespread as some imagine, and the population as paranoid, there would be queues outside the government hospitals who were symptomatic demanding to be tested; there aren’t.”

          • Avatar

            Peter

            Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 11:26 pm

            I couldn’t even be bothered to read your tedious nonsense. Here’s a tip John, keep it short because nobody reads your utterances.
            Reports now that provincial governors are issuing decrees that ban migrants coming into and out of their areas.
            A well known farang correspondent is reporting some facts that would sit badly with amnesty international and basic human decency.
            Once again, Thailand shows it believes only non Thais can spread the virus.

  2. Avatar

    Not Moby

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Hard to reconcile the STV program reboot, Q1 domestic travel push, and now the CCSA March lockdown threat. The dizzying policy merry-go-round is going to help one sector grow – mops and buckets will be in high demand to clean up all the spew!

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Very generous of the government. Are they going to pay the Thais for the days off work?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 11:04 am

      Agreed, Toby.

      It’s more money for the tourism sector if it works but less in other areas that are hit, with factories using it as an excuse to cut the hours as international demand has dropped.

      The only ones who really use the holidays are the public sector, which means less public services and more kids at home from school who need to be fed and looked after.

      Very much a double edged sword.

      • Avatar

        Slugger

        Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 1:31 pm

        Very much a Western view more like.

    • Avatar

      Ray

      Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 6:07 pm

      The massive cut in the GDP from incoming foreign money will not be offset by re-allocating inland spending.

  4. Avatar

    Remo

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Travel bubble means Chinese tour groups are welcome, others are not.

    But as long as China does not allow tour groups to travel abroad, this “travel bubble” discussion is useless.

    • Avatar

      Jack Sombra

      Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Yep, Chinese is what they always mean when they say ‘travel bubbles’ and not only will the Chinese not make one with Thailand (no economic upside for Chinese), they wont even let their people travel in any serious numbers until either epidemic is over or their people are vaccinated. Not sure who government think they are fooling, with either this coded speak or the empty promises within

    • Avatar

      Ian

      Monday, December 28, 2020 at 7:50 am

      China created this disease has Thailand forgot this I know who my friends would be the west

  5. Avatar

    Nipral

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Military B.S. as usual!

  6. Avatar

    crispy

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Military are normally full of goals, strategies, plans and programs of work with measures of achievement.

    I dont see any. None.

    Hete are some suggestions.

    Goals. 2022 same tourist tKe as 2019. All Thais vaccinated. Tourist i frastructure standards to exceed competitor norms.

    • Avatar

      Nipral

      Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 6:18 am

      you cannot entrust military with anything with the exception of wars perhaps.

  7. Avatar

    crispy

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Military are normally full of goals, strategies, plans and programs of work with measures of achievement.

    I don’t see any. None.

    Here are some suggestions.

    Goals. 2022 same tourist tKe as 2019. All Thais vaccinated. Tourist infrastructure standards to exceed competitor norms.

  8. Avatar

    Nipral

    Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Thailand is the only country where long week-ends boost GNP!!!!! ?????

  9. Avatar

    MikeD

    Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Adding long weekends is an excellent idea. I live in Patong and it is like a ghost town here… except on those long weekends. Its wonderful to see the restaurants, hotels and beaches crowded on the long weekends. Its a proven theory Thanks to the governments creative thinking.

    • Avatar

      Nipral

      Sunday, December 27, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      ????????????You must be fun to be with !!!!!!!

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Survey shows a third of tourism businesses are broke or shut down | January 25

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Survey shows a third of tourism businesses are broke or shut down | January 25 | The Thaiger

For those who need to extend their tourist visa, the Thai Immigration Bureau is asking that applicants make an appointment online to reserve their spot. The bureau says the online appointments will help with preventing the spread of Covid-19 by reducing overcrowding and making sure people abide by social distancing practices.

And you thought it was about increasing efficiency.

Applicants who need to extend a tourist visa, or extend their new Special Tourist Visa, should make an online reservation at bangkokimmigration.com.Walk-in services are still available at Muang Thong Thani Temporary Services Centre.

The announcement didn’t clarify about online queues for other immigration centres around the country. A quick phone call before you head in for your extension is probably a good idea.

Police arrested 3 people for allegedly recruiting Thai women to work overseas in the UAE where they were forced into prostitution. The suspects allegedly told the women that they would work as masseuses, promising good pay and assuring them that the work did not involve sex, according to the Department of Special Investigations.

The women signed an agreement before travelling to the UAE, promising to pay back their travel expenses. Once they arrived, they went straight to a massage parlour in Dubai and their passports taken away. Some were taken to a brothel in Abu Dhabi.

The suspects, whose names have been withheld, were charged with colluding to violate anti-human trafficking regulations as well as detaining or depriving others of their freedom. One suspect was arrested in Chon Buri and the other 2 were arrested in Ubon Ratchathani.

Provincial governors in Thailand’s farming areas are being told to mitigate the burning off of agri-business waste by farmers in their provinces. The annual burn-offs are the biggest cause of the December to April air pollution in Bangkok and Central Thailand which lie in the wake of the light north-easterly breezes this time of the year. The burn-offs partly co-incide with the lighter annual north-easterly monsoons.

A spokesman for Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, has been one of the first to openly admit that the agri-fires are the common denominator in the capital’s annual smog woes.

Over recent decades Bangkok’s Pollution Control department has trotted out any number of PR stunts, including water-spraying drones and asking temples to stop lighting josh sticks to stop the smog.

Now that spokesperson says that the accumulation of PM2.5 micron dust in the atmosphere is… “mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, and has been posing a health risk for the past several days”.

Deputy PM Prawit has now ordered all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution. It’s not the first order from the top directed at farmers trying to find cheap ways to get rid of agri-waste and prepare their plantations for the next crop. But, despite the ‘warnings’ in the past the practice has continued largely unenforced.

A Tourism Authority of Thailand survey, conducted between January 10 – 12, indicates that more than a third of the country’s tourism-related businesses has already shut up shop and gone out of business.

But industry players estimate the number is much higher. In regions almost solely relying on tourism for an income – Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui, the Gulf and Andaman islands and touristy areas around Bangkok – up to 90% of the front-line tourism businesses have closed.

1,884 tourism businesses in Thailand were surveyed by the TAT about their current situations and how they were coping with the long-term closure of the Thai borders and the local restrictions on travel. Businesses covered areas like accommodation, travel agents, tour companies, restaurants, car and bike rentals and public transport businesses.

34.7% officially declared they had already shut down or gone out of business.

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town on Saturday night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

A 60 year old, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say the man appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with his gun. Police found a 50 year old lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand and a 54 year old lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk.

And police in Pattaya are investigating an Indian restaurant where they arrested 29 people attending a late night party in Soi 7. The incident took place just after midnight on Saturday evening at a 5 story building which had the first 3 floors closed off. Police say the venue was actually operating as a shisha lounge, pool hall, and bar.

11 foreigners from India, Cambodia, and other countries were found at the venue. The remainder were Thai nationals. All 29 were arrested and taken to the Pattaya Police station where they will face charges under the Emergency Decree Act, the Communicable Disease Act and possession of an illegal substance.

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Thailand

Hotline set up for reports on alleged Covid-19 measure violations

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Hotline set up for reports on alleged Covid-19 measure violations | The Thaiger
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The government is now encouraging people to help report activities deemed to violate the government’s rules and regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19 by calling the national hotline at 1111. People can report on any violations set by the Emergency Decree, which has been in place since last year and extended numerous times to combat the coronavirus.

The government says people can call the hotline for major violations, like labour trafficking across Thailand’s porous border with Myanmar, which is said to have led to the new wave of infections affecting a large migrant community in Samut Sakhon. People can also phone in the hotline for minor violations, even like gatherings that don’t abide by disease control measures.

According to the government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, hundreds of citizens were reported violating the Covid-19 restriction measures and laws despite the Emergency Decree.

The hotline is open for the report of the alleged Covid-19 violations and also general complaints related to Covid-19 situations. All complaints and reports are expected to be fully investigated by agencies in charge and all information of callers will be kept confidential. Service for English speakers is available upon request.

Since being set up, the hotline has received a total of 32,008 inquiries and general questions so far.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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First phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccinations to start on February 14

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First phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccinations to start on February 14 | The Thaiger
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The government plans to begin Thailand’s 3-phase vaccination plan on February 14, starting with healthcare and frontline workers as well as vulnerable groups.

At the Covid-19 vaccination administration subcommittee meeting today, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the first phase of inoculations starting next month will target 19,014,154 Thai people in 4 priority groups…

  • 1,700,000 health workers in both public and private health care sectors.
  • 6,163,095 populations with underlying conditions.
  • 11,136,059 people aged over 60 years
  • Covid-19 task force who are in close contact with infected patients.

The vaccine availability remains limited and only target groups who are at high risk of infection will be vaccinated during the first phase of the vaccination plan, according to permanent secretary of public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit. The vaccines will be free and are not compulsory, Anutin says.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, was approved by the Thai government for emergency last week. The first batch of 50,000 doses are expected to arrive next month. Thailand also expects 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine to arrive next month. The Chinese vaccine is expected to be approved by Thai drug regulators within the next 3 weeks.

The second phase of the 3-part plan is scheduled to run from May to December, offering vaccinations in all regions. Thai officials aim to have at least 50% of the Thai population vaccinated by the end of the year. The final phase will be rolled out in January 2022, with the goal to have enough vaccines to distribute to create herd immunity.

The government is also launched a Line Official Account called “Mor Prom”, translated as “doctor’s ready” to facilitate the vaccination administration. People can register to make appointments for vaccination, while health authorities can monitor the adverse effects of the vaccines. The platform is expected to launch on February 12 to serve the health workers before opening to the public in April.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post| Thairath online

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