Thailand details new visa strategy to welcome rich tourists

The Thai government has revealed their detailed strategy to bring back “rich” tourists while keeping Covid numbers low. The plan, to be rolled out next month, has been touted by officials as a way to help recover Thailand’s hard hit tourist economy, but some say the government needs a reality check.

The Tourism and Sports Authority Minister claims the plan will allow foreign visitors in by requiring them to submit to a 14 day quarantine as well as booking a long stay, minimum 90 days. This, of course, means that tourists paying for the quarantine hotels and a long stay must, have adequate funds to do so.

“There is solid demand for Thai tourism. Thailand will definitely attract tourists from China, Europe and elsewhere, but we will make sure that only those from low-risk countries can fly in.”

Such travellers who agree to enter Thailand on these conditions will be issued a Special Tourist Visa that can be extended by 90 days up to 2 times – almost 9 months. These types of visa holders must agree to spend at least 30 days in Thailand, including the quarantine period while having the option of staying longer (in previous articles, the government has said a minimum of 90 day stay – check for confirmation with the Thai Embassy in your country).

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“Tourists must contact a licensed Thai travel agency, pay for flights, hotel quarantine, apartment or hotel, and the mandatory Covid-19 test.”

Latest update about getting back into Thailand HERE.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is also responding to the idea that most tourists would not like to stay in a costly hotel for 2 weeks by saying that it will be a pleasant suprise as many activities are being planned to help tourists enjoy themselves during the quarantine period.

But the numbers don’t seem to add up as the government is only planning to allow in 300 tourists at a time. A tourism operator in Krabi also doubts that this plan will work as he says the damage to the economy is severe and it may not help much.

Estimates by Association of Thai Travel Agents conclude that up to 2.5 million Thais will lose their jobs in the tourism industry if business in the 4th quarter of 2020 remains the same. But Kasikorn Research Centre says the STV strategy could channel between 1.5 to 2 billion baht back into the economy if it is successful, still a long way short of previous income from tourism.

So far, attempts at bringing tourists back to the Kingdom have been squashed due to the re-emergence of Covid in certain countries. Such plans as travel bubbles for areas like Phuket, aka. the “Phuket Model” have been put on the back burner after agreements with partnering countries fell through due to resurgences in Covid cases.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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