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The Area Hotel Quarantine – tweaking Thailand’s arrival options

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We spoke about the new proposal for an Area Hotel Quarantine last Friday and in Thailand News Today. The mandatory 14 day quarantine (magically extended a couple of days at many facilities at the foreigner’s cost) remains the key sticking point for the return of tourists or travellers, in any significant or useful numbers. A number of visas and quarantine programs has done little to increase the numbers of foreign arrivals to Thailand.

The proposal, leaked out as a ‘discussion’ pending cabinet talks and a final decision, has not received much support from the overseas community that are trying to travel to Thailand, or former expats that are trying to get back. Many of the comments believe the 14 days, even restricted to a larger set of walls, is still too restrictive, costly and inconvenient.

“It would also be nice if the two weeks quarantine was not part of the visa! You get a two month visa minus the two weeks.”

“It’s still a prison if you can’t get out. Voting with my feet”

“There’s just not going to be any tourism until Thailand stops this 14-day quarantine nonsense.”

The proposal allows guests to leave their hotel rooms after the first 3 days of a 14 day stay. The proposal is on the agenda for the next CCSA weekly meeting. The proposal was mooted at a meeting last Thursday and chaired by Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

After the first 3 days, guests would have another swab test before being able to spend the remaining 11 days meandering around the rest of the hotel complex (so, suddenly, REALLY large hotels in great locations become much more attractive). But they wouldn’t be able to leave the hotel property.

The Area Hotel Quarantine is being seen as an accommodation for the hardest hit tourist zones in Thailand – Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani (the 3 islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao) and Chon Buri (Pattaya). In all cases the key tourist zones are desperate for the government to ease restrictions or do something… anything… to help boost travel to the battered tourist economies that rely, mostly, on the visits from tourists.

After the 14 day AHQ the visitor will be free to travel anywhere around Thailand.

Last Thursday’s conference call says that Ministers are trying to come up with ways to start re-opening up Thailand to more travellers from next month by expanding the options and slowly easing restriction.. They also want to re-open talks with neighbouring countries and other countries deemed ‘low risk’, or with high vaccination uptake, with travel bubble options, hopefully by May.

About vaccinations, the government is also considering plans to have a no-quarantine option for visitors to come to Thailand as long as they’ve been vaccinated. But the Public Health Ministers says they are looking at the lead from the World Health Organisation about how to administer this sort of ‘vaccine passport’ access as there needs to be a greater body of knowledge about the efficacy of various vaccines. The International Air Transport Association is also in discussion with airlines and governments about restricting access to international travel for people who have been vaccinated.

It was also disclosed this week that some foreigners in the first batch of golf quarantine, where they have to stay in their room for 3 days then can roam around the golf course and play golf, have tested positive for the coronavirus after the test on the third day of their stay. Another batch of Villa Quarantine tourists, visiting Phuket at the end of February, have all returned negative test results.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

(The hotel depicted in the main photo may, or may not, be associated with the Area Hotel Quarantine program)

 

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dave

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 8:58 am

    It would also be nice if the two weeks quarantine was not part of the visa! You get a two month visa minus the two weeks. I reported only to discover I had overstayed a week instead of being a week early. Not very generous. The immigration staff behaved as if there were no pandemic.

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 10:45 am

    An “area quarantine” is just a quarantine by another name. You are still locked up. I’ll wait till Thailand drops the quarantine instead. This summer there will be other places to visit while we wait.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:01 am

    “The photo may or may not be associated with the area Hotel Quarantine Program.”
    Yes it looks like a Maldives hotel.
    You will receive no mercy from immigration staff Dave.
    How is it some offices insist on photocopies and others do not? I doubt they need photocopies anyway.
    They just want to make money selling photocopies.
    My hero is an Irishman who being told that the extension for another month at Jomtien immigration was £45, stood up and called them all the bar stewards under the sun, including other choice insults that the Irish are expert at expressing.
    They gave him two days to leave the country.
    It is no surprise to me that they found some quarantine golfers were contagious on the third day.
    I wonder if, as they whisked the golfers off to hospital, that they were refunded the nights that they did not stay at the Quarantine hotel. I doubt it.
    A sweet deal for the Thais. the golfers still pay for the hotel and the hospital takes money from the golfers insurance – big money!
    Thai smiles all around, especially if the golfers did not have the virus.
    This is the risk in this Thai quarantine deal.
    I would not believe a Thai if they told me the sea tastes of salt.

  4. Avatar

    Jan Schauseil

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:44 am

    “The International Air Transport Association is also in discussion with airlines and governments about restricting access to international travel for people who have been vaccinated.” So, it’s better not to be vaccinated? So you don’t get restricted from international travel.

  5. Avatar

    notatard

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:54 am

    imagine trusting the WHO about ANYTHING, how retarded can you be…

  6. Avatar

    Keith

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    even you can move around your high priced prison it is still a prison.

  7. Avatar

    Neil Leathers

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    This is interesting as I’ve been waiting almost 18 months now to see my girlfriend. We’re opening a cafe in Chai Nat, and I want to be there to help start it. Trouble is, I won’t be fully retired for over a year, and I can only stay in Thailand for 35 days max. Don’t want to waste half of it locked in a bedroom.
    The questions it raises: (1) Will this involve only top hotels with high prices? (2) Am I free to mix with others in all areas of the hotel, such as massage/sauna, pool, bars, etc – and do we wear masks? (3) Will it be open to members of the Thai public too? Maybe I could book my girlfriend in for some time after I’m released from the 3 day lockup. Clever.

  8. Avatar

    Gobsmacked_1

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Well spotted Jan.

    Poor English – which will confuse the “numpties” even more! The writer should have said “……………about restricting access TO people who have been vaccinated”. I think that that’s what is going to happen, and the WHO will lead the way on this one. If someone doesn’t want to be vaccinated,AND doesn’t want to be quarantined that’s absolutely fine. No jab, no international travel. For the future, “Have jab, will travel.” Same as for some other nasty, highly contagious infections.

    Here’s a proposal for Thailand. For international arrivals with proof of vaccination from countries with approved vaccinations and proper insurance and negative Covid test before flying. Five day quarantine at NORMAL hotel prices at designated resorts/hotels. Three further tests – 1. on arrival 2. on the third day and 3. on the fifth day. Then free to travel in Thailand to any non-restricted area and free to spend their considerable savings they have accumulated in their time away from Thailand!!

    I would suggest that most vaccinated expats currently stranded away from Thailand would return tomorrow and that would prepare the way for reigniting international tourism long before Thailand’s “winter season”. How’s that for a controlled “soft restart” for a battered tourist industry, battered economy and indeed a decimated airline too?

  9. Avatar

    David

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    This is still under 14 days in lockdown, yes some tourists may will come but that’s not much, will not serve the purposes of economy growth.
    The area quarantine system will be more costly than ASQ hotel quarantine, it’s understood by the tourits.
    Well, ASQ in hotels or Area quarantine in the resorts: I think it will be okay with 3 nights to 5 nights in quarantine will be enough for non vaccinated tourists, they will be tested twice, once during entering to the facilities and the one during departure.
    Vaccinated tourists may welcome with covid free + vaccine passport holders with 3 days quarantine will be enough.
    The process will really bring Budget tourists, medical tourists and business class personals.

  10. Avatar

    Alavan

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    Neil Leathers, what is the use of quarantaine if you can meet people from outside your quarantaine bubble?

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    At last – clarification in line with what has been widely reported elsewhere.

    So it’s nothing more than golf quarantine without the golf, but probably at the same cost (60,000 baht plus).

    “It was also disclosed this week that some foreigners in the first batch of golf quarantine, where they have to stay in their room for 3 days then can roam around the golf course and play golf, have tested positive for the coronavirus after the test on the third day of their stay.”

    … and the golf quarantine is restricted to low risk countries to minimise the chances of that happening! So if approved those who test positive will be hospitalised, as normal, but as they’ll have been roaming around freely in the hotel they could have infected not only any other quarantined guests but any of the unquarantined staff.

    Absolutely stupid – very little to gain, as very few will be willing to still be confined for 14 days, whether to a room or a resort, while there’s a great deal to lose as the reaction to supposedly quarantined “tourists” infecting Thai satff, if it happens, could undeservedly sway public opinion against vaccinated tourists as well as unvaccinated.

    Not just pointless, but downright stupid.

  12. Avatar

    Matt

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    There is enough data to know that if you have been vaccinated, have or have not been tested positive, in addition to ‘herd immunity’, have proof of insurance, countries had better open up to travelers or their neighboring countries will gladly seize the opportunity.

    Wake Up Thailand!

  13. Avatar

    west tiger

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Reduce the quarantine to 3 days and Tourists will return.

  14. Avatar

    Jan Schauseil

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    £45 (1900 Baht) is the official fee for extending most types of visas for one month. And you get an official receipt. What’s there to get upset about?

  15. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    I agree with John, it’s a pointless risk for very little reward. It’s nothing more than a stop gap measure until Thailand drops the quarantine and fully opens supposedly in July. The question is why do this now? To show the the world or your own population you are at least trying to fix the problem? Personally I think it’s a case of grasping at straws. The Thai economy is turning decidedly bad and the government desperate. Otherwise you would just wait till you hit 70% vaccination.

  16. Avatar

    Pete

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    We are desperate to go to Thailand this July. Although I and my wife will have received two vaccinations each by May, our two children, aged 16, are not even on the radaar for vaccinations at the moment. So, even if vaccinated tourists are allowed to enter Thailand without facing quarantine, we still wouldn’t be able to go because the kids would still face quarantine on arrival. Bummer!!

  17. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    “How’s that for a controlled “soft restart” for a battered tourist industry, battered economy and indeed a decimated airline too?”

    Pretty dumb, TBH, Gobsmacked.

    What’s the point in a PCR test if you’re “free to travel in Thailand to any non-restricted area” BEFORE the results come back?

    Either the quarantine’s needed or it’s not – quarantining then testing and releasing before you have the results is beyond pointless.

    That may not have been your intention, but that IS the net result of your suggestion.

  18. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    “..countries had better open up to travelers or their neighboring countries will gladly seize the opportunity.”

    Exactly what “neighboring countries” are these for Thailand, Matt?

    Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia?

    Vietnam and China?

  19. Avatar

    BangkokBen

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Maybe this idea will get an additional 10 to 20 tourists into Thailand this year.

  20. Avatar

    Gender neutral potato head

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 9:03 am

    They are taking their lead from the WHO, the same WHO that waited a year to visit the lab in Wuhan and after a three hour stay, announced it had nothing to do with the virus. That’s like visiting a murder scene a year later after it’s been completely scrubbed down, sanitized and all evidence removed and pretending you can make a valid judgement. Interestingly, the man heading up the WHO investigation has direct ties with and worked at the Wuhan lab himself. Nothing to see here.

  21. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 11:32 am

    “The question is why do this now?”

    It’s local election time, Ed V … aka clutching at straws time.

    Realistically, the support for “opening in July” is still slim, despite the supposed enthusiasm reported here. Out of the 15 signatories to the appeal to open in June, only one was Thai and the other 14 were all farang – the Thais who’ve spoken out favour a very different plan, to open in October, and then only subject to 70% being vaccinated.

  22. Avatar

    Kim

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    We can keep complaining, however, at the end of the day, it’s their country and their rules, no different from other countries. Several Schengen countries have reintroduced border control in order to restrict free travel unless you can provide proper documention and test results. Unless you have family or a gf/bf in Thailand, why would you want to come? The crime rate and drug use is going through the roof – even in our closed housing estate they have doubled the guards and installed barbwire on all walls. The poor thais are desperate and mixed with drug use et al they will do desperate actions.

  23. Avatar

    zig

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    the Hell with this B.S. If I’m vaccinated, I’m not spending 2 weeks in a prison…kiss my a**

  24. Avatar

    Gobsmacked_1

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    What a total tunnel-visioned plonker you are, Mr.Prof.Dr.Sir.Know-it-all self-proclaimed amateur “Googler scientist” par excellence, I.J!

    Who says a PCR test result HAS to take days to come through?? Test sites in the UK can now these results around in a day. Yes, it takes investment, training and good organisation – as with vaccination programmes. The economics have to be examined, of course. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was Bangkok. Start small-scale, using University labs.

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