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Thai government says tourism-dependent locations will get high priority in vaccination drive

Maya Taylor

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Thai government says tourism-dependent locations will get high priority in vaccination drive | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Willy Thuan/phuket101.net

The government’s Covid-19 task force says places like Phuket and Pattaya, which are heavily reliant on international tourism, will be considered “high priority” for vaccination. The Pattaya News reports that Apisamai Srirangsan, assistant spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, made the announcement at a press conference yesterday.

The southern island of Phuket – along with a number of other tourism-dependent locations – had been hoping to purchase vaccines privately, in order to inoculate enough of its residents to achieve herd immunity. It was hoped that this would mean the island could re-open to international tourists from October. However, the government has put a stop to the plan, in a move that generated furious criticism from the tourism sector.

Places like Phuket and Pattaya are nearly entirely dependent on tourism, with both listed in the top 20 most-visited cities in 2019. Each welcomed around 10 million visitors a year, with Pattaya relying on tourism for nearly 80% of its GDP. In Phuket, that figure is more like 90%.

Apisamai says that, while frontline medical workers and other vulnerable people remain first in line for Covid-19 vaccines, employees in the tourism sector will also be classed as “high priority” for vaccination. However, the details of the government’s planned vaccine rollout remain unclear, nor is it yet known if expats, many who would fall into the vulnerable category, will be included.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Stardust

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:35 am

    And where are the orders for these vaccines? Everday further nonsense!You have to reserve Vaccines to get them! Even when they order now they will be on the end of the list. Do this Clowns know how much People living on planet earth?

  2. Avatar

    Joe

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:36 am

    For the government a delay is much more beneficial, they can the continue with their emergency decree and very profitable, (for themselves), stimulus programmes,when everybody is vaccinated they would have to forego all that, never mind the economic destruction.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:54 am

      How are the “stimulus programmes” “very profitable” for the government, or anyone else?

      • Avatar

        Joe

        Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12:36 pm

        Issan John how long have you lived in Thailand for?, the people who are in charge get a cut of everything, be it stimulus programmes, vaccinations, road projects etc etc, does it ring a bell Issan John?

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 1:14 pm

          Nearly 30 years!

          It “rings a bell”, but the idea that “stimulus programmes” are worth more to anyone than tourism is, quite frankly, moronic.

          • Avatar

            Joe

            Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 4:38 pm

            Issan John stop pretending that you don’t know the real situation you junta backside licker.

          • Avatar

            RA

            Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 8:31 am

            Wow John, you really yanked some chains here. I have a rule: Never fight with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it. When people attack you instead of your comments, just let it go.

        • Avatar

          Dreamon

          Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 1:14 pm

          Issan is just a scumbag troll window licker of the dictatorship, don’t talk to him, leave him alone.

          • Avatar

            Joe

            Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 4:37 pm

            You are totally right dream on.

          • Avatar

            David Mann

            Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 8:19 pm

            IJ is typical of someone trapped in his sad existence and trying to justify his wasted 30 years. I also strongly suspect he’s an employee of The Tiger. He can’t possibly be as obnoxious as he is and not have had his ass kicked many times otherwise. I honestly can’t believe that anyone who has spent 30 days in Thailand would have the rose tinted view of the place as he does, never mind 30 years. The guy could engage in sensible debate but chooses to be rude and spew his vile and incompetent views on just about everything. I have to laugh at the way he sees Google search engine as the provider of all truth ?? Best to ignore the troll going forward I think and hold a sensible debate with people.

        • Avatar

          Bs

          Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 5:32 pm

          I doubt he is a expat – maybe more a troll friendly to the military dictators – or hes thai wife tell him he must write only positive about thais – better ignore him – love makes blind

  3. Avatar

    Stardust

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:42 am

    The whole world started vaccination already, only Thailand not, because they prefer to talk daily nonsense.

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Well what do you know, vaccination priority for the tourist industry. Economically it makes sense even if the ethics are a bit questionable. The government has been talking about a third quarter opening, as in dropping the quarantine requirement. Not sure they can open that soon, but September or October might be doable. I would think some limits on movement would be in place, at least for the first few weeks after arrival. Along with some testing requirements. More than a fair trade for the lack of a quarantine if you ask me. I’m in.

  5. Avatar

    Lewis

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    What you need to remember is that tourists plan holidays 3-6 months out. So there will be a lag. There will be a further lag as workers return to tourist hotspots which they won’t do until there are tourists. And tourists won’t commit to holidays until they know that things are up and running. So you are into a nasty catch 22. With great sadness we are writing off 2021 and looking at alternative options. Or have I got this wrong? Please say I have as I miss Thailand every day.

  6. Avatar

    luca

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    it seems to me the usual propaganda to give hope to the hungry, in reality it makes no sense because even if all 4 million workers in the sector are vaccinated, another 66 million Thais remain exposed to the virus, without considering that at the moment they do not have the necessary doses, the reality is that vaccinating 70 million Thais means having 140 million doses and the world does not produce enough, international tourism in Thailand will not be there for the whole of 2021 and probably at least half of 2022, what will remain of the industry?

  7. Avatar

    Ian

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    Well someone is lieing ij
    You said yesterday you’ve paid and lived in UK and paid taxes in UK for 45 yrs and today you say you’ve lived in thailand 30yrs so if you started working at 16 this makes you 91 at least 555 no wonder your stuck in your wooden hut

    • Avatar

      Joe

      Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      Obviously Issan John has been here way too long, he has lost the plot.

  8. Avatar

    Bart

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    This only makes sense for isolated places (i.e. islands). Tourists could visit these without a quarantine.
    The price to pay is you need to maintain a strict isolation, with a quarantine for anybody going back to the mainland. This would have to last until the rest of Thailand has been sufficiently vaccinated. Even a single infected person can jeopardize the efforts that kept Thailand mostly free of corona.

    • Avatar

      EdwardV

      Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:49 pm

      The benefit of only using island is also the drawback, the isolation. The islands can’t self support themselves even without tourists. With tourist it’s ten times worse. The point being once you introduce tourists to the islands, it is physically impossible to isolate the islands. They need a constant supply of goods from the mainland and that means contact. Same goes for people, they have a need to come and go for any number of reasons. You’re idea is basically instead of quarantining tourists, to quarantine Thais instead. And the reason being so tourist can take a vacation. Not too sure that would go over well with the Thais anymore than it has the last year with tourists.

  9. Avatar

    Wayne C

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 12:55 am

    LOL the 200,000 vaccines that you’re getting from China are totally worthless. They give absolutely zero protection for anybody.
    Think about this 200,000 Doses 100,000 people inoculated. So that means 50% efficiency is 50,000 people that think they have have been inoculated which they actually do not so they will be carriers which could create another mass spread event. As being a tourist to Thailand trying to get me to believe that the citizens have been vaccinated without any chance of carrying the coronavirus which they will not be is even worse than not being inoculated at all……. I will stay away from Thailand for the time being until I have been vaccinated in my own country with a vaccine that 90% efficiency.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca rollout confirmed for Thursday, with PM first in line

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca rollout confirmed for Thursday, with PM first in line | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

First, there was the unexpected arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine on the same day Thailand took delivery of the Chinese one. Then there was the announcement that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was too old for China’s Sinovac jab and would get the AstraZeneca one instead. And then there was the delay to the PM’s inoculation, blamed on paperwork that was missing from the AstraZeneca shipment. Now, finally, the rollout of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab is scheduled for Thursday and the PM will be first in line.

The Bangkok Post reports that Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed that quality checks on the 117,000 AstraZeneca doses are nearly complete and the PM will be vaccinated this week.

“(The rollout of) AstraZeneca vaccines in Thailand will take place on March 11 at the earliest, with the PM to be the first to receive the vaccine.”

According to Anutin, a number of senior politicians, including the foreign affairs minister and the acting education minister, have requested the AstraZeneca jab. Those over the age of 60 are being prioritised, while younger people will receive the Chinese vaccine, whose efficacy and safety have not been tested in those over 60.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister adds that China has asked for Thailand’s help in inoculating 200,000 Chinese citizens living in the Kingdom. Beijing has also floated the idea of making Thailand a regional vaccination centre for Chinese people living in the ASEAN region and says it will provide the necessary vaccines for free.

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry has confirmed it will issue vaccination certificates to everyone who receives the required 2 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Apisamai Srirangson from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration says such certificates have been approved by the World Health Organisation and can be used in the future to obtain a vaccine passport.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Economic think-tank says the future of tourism in Thailand hangs on vaccination

Maya Taylor

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Economic think-tank says the future of tourism in Thailand hangs on vaccination | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The research division of Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank says everything hangs on vaccination strategies, both here and abroad. Kevalin Wangpichayasuk from the Kasikorn Research Centre says the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines globally will have a significant impact on the recovery of tourism in the Kingdom, with 2 million foreign tourists expected to arrive in the last quarter of the year. However, she points out that this is a huge drop from tourism’s hey day and the country will still be heavily reliant on the domestic market.

“Thailand’s path to economic recovery will mostly depend on the tourism industry (outlook) as to when the country will reopen for foreign tourist arrivals. The Covid-19 vaccines and the (re-opening) policy of each country will have a significant impact on the recovery of Thailand’s tourism industry in 2021.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, Kevalin says the rollout of vaccines in countries from where most visitors to Thailand originate, coupled with the administration of vaccines in the Kingdom, will be instrumental in how quickly tourism recovers. Specifically, the revival of foreign tourism hinges on vaccine rollouts in 10 countries, including China, Japan, the US, and several European nations, as well as the progress of the Thai government’s Covid-19 vaccine programme.

“Other crucial factors are whether Thailand’s quarantine period is reduced, the clarity of vaccine passport policy, and if countries would allow their citizens to travel to Thailand.”

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has announced that the mandatory quarantine period may be reduced for vaccinated arrivals from October. The proposal will go to the CCSA board, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Monday.

Last year, Thailand welcomed just 6.7 foreign visitors, a year-on-year decline of over 83%. In January, the number of international tourists was 7,694, a massive year-on-year drop of 99.8%. The current mandatory quarantine of 14 days is widely seen as the most significant obstacle in the battle to revive the sector.

The Kasikorn Research Centre says the Kingdom’s GDP is expected to grow by 2.6% in 2021, primarily due to a recovery in exports, various economic stimulus measures, and Covid-19 containment measures being less severe than last year. However, the think-tank warns that should the number of foreign visitors not reach the expected 2 million, that growth forecast could drop.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Slow return of foreign tourism makes more redundancies inevitable – Airlines Association of Thailand

Maya Taylor

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Slow return of foreign tourism makes more redundancies inevitable – Airlines Association of Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The president of the Airlines Association of Thailand says further layoffs in the sector are inevitable, due to the slow return of international tourism. In a Bangkok Post report, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth says the sluggish revival of foreign tourism, now not expected until the last quarter of the year, means all carriers continue to face financial hardship. And while there was a surge in the domestic market during the last quarter of 2020, the return of the virus in late December brought demand to a grinding halt.

“We suffered a tremendous domestic impact during the second wave, and it will take months to climb back to its peak again. While re-opening for international markets will likely occur with few countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand first, as health safety is a big issue for local communities.”

Significant layoffs have already happened over the course of the pandemic, with staff numbers at 7 carriers under the AAT umbrella now standing at 16,000, down from between 25,000 and 30,000, prior to Covid-19. Bangkok Airways has cut 20% of its workforce and only has 30% of its fleet in operation. Puttipong, who is also the airline’s president, says it transported just 300 passengers a day during the month of January. Peak passenger numbers prior to the pandemic were around the 5,000 mark. Covid-19 has also led to the demise of low-cost carrier Nok Scoot, which went out of business in June 2020.

Puttipong predicts that Thailand’s aviation sector could take 4 years to get back to anything like the 40 million foreign arrivals of 2019. He says all carriers will need to look at cost-saving initiatives as the only means of long-term survival. Thai Air Asia is one of 7 airline members of the AAT calling for a 14 billion baht soft loan. The carrier has been pushing the government to re-open, warning that Thailand risks losing its status as an international hub.

The Bangkok Post reports that the AAT plans to submit 3 requests to state agencies this week. They are calling for the vaccination programme to be extended to airline workers as a matter of priority, for the rapid introduction of a vaccine passport policy, and for the Transport Ministry to prepare the necessary regulations for international flights.

Puttipong has welcomed the recent decision to reduce quarantine for vaccinated arrivals, pointing out that the 14-day quarantine was the most significant hurdle preventing the return of foreign tourists.

“It’s quite impossible for tourists and business travellers to take 14-day quarantines before and after trips. They might have money to spend, but they don’t have the luxury of time to be kept in isolation for almost a month.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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