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Thailand ploughs ahead with plans for re-opening tourist areas

Tim Newton

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The Thai government says they’re pressing ahead with plans to waive the current mandatory quarantine for vaccinated visitors to Bangkok and and 5 other major tourist destinations from October this year as an effort to reboot the country’s battered tourism industry.

Dr. Traisulee Traisoranakul from the CCSA says the new measures will provide easier access to the main tourist locations like Pattaya, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Krabi and Bangkok from October 1.

Phuket tourism and government officials also maintain that they are preparing to open up to vaccinated travellers in 7 weeks, in a pilot ‘sandbox’ scheme. The positive moves forward come at the same time local officials announced a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days for visitors from outside the province, starting May 14, to replace the rapid antigen test. The quarantine period would be for all arrivals who hadn’t been fully vaccinated or could provide a negative PCR Covid test within the past 72 hours.

The ‘quarantine-free’ is the key change to Thailand’s new re-opening policy but it remains to be seen what paperwork or current restrictions may stay in place – nothing has been announced. The questions of who will visit or what is left open for them to enjoy when they arrive, is still all up in the air.

Meanwhile the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, reiterated this week that the island would have to register zero new infections before any quarantine-free re-opening would be able to occur, adding to the earlier provision that 70% of the island’s population will need to be vaccinated as well. As of today, only 22% of Phuket’s population have been vaccinated but a new round of registrations is happening in the next week. Phuket is way ahead of the rest of Thailand with vaccinations at this stage.

SOURCE: NBT

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 950 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current CEO for company, based in Bangkok.

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