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Thailand will remain closed to general tourism until at least the 2nd quarter of 2021 – Minister

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Thailand will remain closed to general tourism until at least the 2nd quarter of 2021 – Minister | The Thaiger
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Kiss any resemblance of general tourism to Thailand goodbye, at least until march next year, at the earliest. That’s the outlook for Thailand’s beleaguered tourism industry from the usually optimistic Minster for Sports and Tourism, Pipat Ratchakitprakan.

So, apart from the STV and the modified 60 day Tourist Visa, and a few other options – all involving quarantine and a lot of red-tape for now – there’s not much good news on the horizon for people wishing to get back to Thailand right now. The minister’s outlook wipes out any hope of any tourism resurgence for the 2020/2021 high season.

The Thai Hotel Association and The Thailand Travel Agents Association have been lobbying, even demanding, the Thai government to drop its mandatory quarantine provisions and urgently negotiate travel bubble with provinces in China and other nations that are currently “low risk” for Covid-19, including Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.

But Pipat says everything is on hold at this stage and that the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is urging caution in regards to any wholesale easing of restrictions.

“The country will continue with opening to businessmen, technical experts, high level workers and those in the medical field for now. 14 day quarantine will continue for now with many countries still in the grip of the pandemic.”

He also noted that even Chinese officials are advising caution and suggest waiting until the hot season next year (mid year).

There was small outbreaks in 3 cities in China over the past few weeks, less than 10 cases in each city, where Chinese health officials rolled out quick response lockdown teams for the affected communities.

The Minister, indeed the Thai government and the CCSA, appear to be bowing to survey after survey which shows Thai people, around the country, are in favour of keeping the borders closed for now, despite the country’s tourism and hospitality industry being decimated by the government’s policies.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I’d be surprised if a general no quarantine reopening happens before summer. The general population won’t start vaccination until early next year and it’s going to take some time once that happens. Could they save Songkran? Maybe but is it worth rushing? Probably not. Traffic will be very light for the first several months, people are weary of long distance travel. Even the Chinese have lowered Thailand on their interest list for that very reason. I just got back from Hawaii and it was different being there while some 20-30% of the tourist business were still closed. Can’t even imagine what Thailand will be like when I return. Still I have friends looking forward to seeing me so I won’t wait too long. Fall should be about right.

  2. Avatar

    Nipral

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Congrats General, you killed Thai tourism forever !
    Now what do you plan to do with millions of unemployed people ?

  3. Avatar

    Fabian

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    It would be great if Thailand came up with a plan to slowly start tourism again in March, but I’m not counting on it, as until now they’ve only been throwing silly ideas into the air and shooting them down again before you can blink with your eyes.

  4. Avatar

    Peter

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    I doubt quarantine restrictions will be removed until 2022 at the earliest.
    Thai clowns to make, manufacture and distribute a vaccine in a year?
    You must be joking.
    Even vaccinated foreigners may not quarantee they will not pass on the disease.
    Safety first will continue for a long time to come.
    The point about what we are all returning to, is also well made.
    I for one won’t be rushing to do many long haul flights per year.

    • Avatar

      Nipral

      Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 3:13 pm

      Dont worry this infamous bunch of military crooks will shortly find a way to try milking us with a VSCRSTV !!!
      (Very Special Covidfree Rich Stupid Tourist Visa)

      • Avatar

        Rasputin

        Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 5:56 am

        Generally speaking rich people are not stupid, you don’t get rich by throwing your money about. The super rich who have had the money passed down to them are a very different category though, easy come easy go is their general attitude.

    • Avatar

      Ted

      Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      A friend of mine works close to the rulers of Thailand, she says that a rumor has started to float around in the corridors of the government building, that they will open up the country. And this quite soon. That without any quarantine and the other unsuccessful rules they have tested.

      Then if uncle Tu and his friends like to speak without action, between themselves as they do publicly, is anyone’s guess.

    • Avatar

      Ben

      Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 6:24 am

      While Peter is vacationing in Mexico or Brazil in the second half of 2021 I’ll be drinking and partying with his girlfriend in Thailand. Nipral, if you’re going with Peter then I will have a three-some.

      The PM has said general tourism will reopen only with a vaccine. That’s 2021 and not 2022 or 2025 or never. Note that all the non-starting ideas to date have come from people working for the PM or from lobbyists and not from the PM himself.

  5. Avatar

    Aaron

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Survey after survey? Since when did the government listen to the people? Before SHUTTING DOWN THE BORDERS? Since then? The WHO rightly is against “any border or trade restrictions” still, as viruses clearly do not respect them, having crossed into nearly 200 countries within 2 months of Covid-19 awareness.

    It is very simple: if you will ONE DAY open the country, you may as well do it now, as viruses like Covid-19 and the common cold will not disappear. Practice what is known to help prevent transmission: herd immunity, masks, distancing, and washing hands. Keeping the borders shut is simply destroying perfectly healthy businesses and creating mass unemployment and the hollowing out of the middle classes.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 1:43 am

      So “herd immunity” is “known to help prevent transmission”?

      Really?

      Do you have any evidence for that?

      Do any recognised or reliable medical or scientific sources agree with that?

      Just asking …..

      • Avatar

        Peter N

        Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 6:05 am

        About a month ago Imperial College London released a statement suggesting it did but qualified the statement with the immunity “APPEARS” to be short lived, and it’s “TOO EARLY” to be certain of this yet.

    • Avatar

      Don R

      Friday, December 4, 2020 at 10:32 pm

      On the one hand, I would guess that Asia will be the last region in the world to return to normal for the reason you describe: strict lockdowns have prevented their population from developing immunity

      On the other hand, most East Asian countries likely already have widespread resistance to the virus due to years of exposure, poor sanitation, and stronger immune systems.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    At last, something definite – better late than never, but it’s unfortunate that the TAT didn’t say this months ago as Vietnam did, as it’s the only sensible solution.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 11:20 pm

      How is that definite? All it is, is a photo of some cleavage, with the first word of the article being “kiss”, and it sounds like the author’s nuts are turning purple from excessive cogitation.
      Why on earth anyone takes the dribblings into newspapers seriously, is a mystery.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 1:50 am

        Well, whether you like it or not and whether you choose to believe it or not, what he’s actually quoted as saying is still “definite”.

        I’m not saying it’ll happen, just that what he’s saying is “definite”.

  7. Avatar

    David

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I am waiting for a position on “Fully Vaccinated” tourists.

  8. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Yeah March is a Pipe Dream. The level of paranoia is one of the highest on the globe in Thailand. That spells years before normal travel & tourism.

  9. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    There not even sure how long the vaccine will protect …. what a mess this rollout will be. Will take years to figure out the ins & outs of several vaccines . Good luck trying to open to normal tourism. Not happening for years unless the government relaxes its draconian regulations.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 1:55 am

      “Not happening for years unless the government relaxes its draconian regulations.”

      Ummm … well … ‘yes’, it would be difficult to relax the regulations without relaxing the regulations.

      God almighty ……

  10. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 12:36 am

    The six trillion THB question (the amount of debts whose repayment has been frozen within Thai banks) is who will chip the 2 trillion brought yearly by the foreign tourists?
    Air Asia Japan has now declared bankruptcy and its Thai subsidiary will probably follow very soon sending thousands of people back home. Bangkok hotels have an occupation rate of around 20% and massive layoffs will start now that it is clear that the next high season (q4-2021) will be the first moment the staff may be necessary!
    If we add that real estate is diving (most major touristic spots have prices 30-50% below last year values) and the credit cards (mirroring the private consumption) have declined 10% plus… there is no bright spot except the electronic exports only contracting 5% to date.
    This is a moment of truth, without flooding the market with subsidies/liquidity, Thailand may see its tourism industry disappearing before the vaccines allow tourists to come back.
    France is now subsidizing up to 250.000 USD month the big hotels/restaurant… closed/suffering because of covid, Thailand should start doing the same.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Why should Thailand subsidize just one part of the economy?

      Exports, which make up a far larger part of GDP than foreign tourism, are down by 6% so production has dropped to match.

      Should Thailand also subsidise the factories, to match?

      With what?

  11. Avatar

    Sardar Daga

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    How will Sardaar live like this, his soul is trapped in Thailand waters. If they dont open travel he will die like fish without water

  12. Avatar

    Tori 123

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 7:37 am

    No sympathy . They had it too good and took advantage

  13. Avatar

    gg

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    It’s much easier now than few months ago to enter Thailand, the procedure for a TR Visa and CoE is quite straightforward and relatively quick (I did all in 5 days). The costs are still high since the ASQ is still mandatory, but with the vaccines coming on, most probably the tourism will reopen normally in the 2nd quarter of 2021, regardless of what this inexperienced minister may say.

  14. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 12:02 am

    The draconian measures will cause human suffering on an epic scale over several years. The moral corruption is mind numbing on its face. I’ve never seen so much paranoia . It’s sad for such a great country to have to go to its knees in fear.

  15. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 12:13 am

    I agree the tourist sector needs to be subsidized eventually. After the local paranoia subsides and you learn to deal with Covid , you will have to find a way to get the tourists to return. Everything will be on sale .

  16. Avatar

    Declan

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Life or profits?
    Recessions are cyclic. Flatlining is terminal.
    Well done Thailand.
    Keep up the good work until 2022

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

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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
PHOTO: Campus Star

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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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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