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Thai tourism operators slam government’s inefficient vaccine rollout



PHOTO: PM Prayut receives the first vaccine - Facebook/ไทยคู่ฟ้า

Representatives from Thailand’s tourism sector have blasted what they see as an ineffective and disorganised national vaccine rollout. Operators say the scheme will not allow the Kingdom to achieve herd immunity, with tourism possibly affected by a third outbreak.

Domestic tourism was starting to recover after taking a hit during the second outbreak late last year, with Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi from the Thai Hotels Association saying operators were beginning to see things pick up ahead of the Songkran holiday.

“We cannot stop operations every time a new cluster causes the government to impose strict restrictions. The most urgent need right now is a pro-active strategy for the country’s public inoculation.”

Marisa echoes top virologist Yong Poovorawan in calling for the vaccination rate to be accelerated. She adds that private firms must be given approval to order different types of vaccines if herd immunity is to be achieved.

The Bangkok Post reports that some hotels have reported cancellations of both room and restaurant reservations, but most guests holding Songkran bookings appear to be waiting for government updates. Average hotel occupancy over the forthcoming holiday is expected to be around 30%, although rising infections could lead to a drop.

Meanwhile, Supant Mongkolsuthree from the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is also urging the government to ramp up the rollout of vaccines and for private companies to be allowed to import doses.

“Authorities are slow in vaccinating people. They should relax some regulations to facilitate companies that want to import vaccines and give them to employees.”

Supant says the rise in infections will slow down economic recovery, just as Phuket got the go-ahead for a quarantine-free re-opening to vaccinated tourists from July.

The JSCCIB’s is expected to revise down its GDP growth forecast as a result of the latest outbreak. The JSCCIB is seriously concerned about whether the government can control the spread of infections.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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