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Tourism Ministry pushing for return of Test & Go from February

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thailand’s tourism minister says he’s pushing for the return of the Test & Go entry scheme, potentially as early as next month. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says the resumption of the scheme could mean at least 8 million international tourists this year. The CCSA meets tomorrow to discuss easing a number of restrictions and potentially rebooting Test & Go.

The Omicron variant has not been the public health disaster the government feared, with infections stabilising at between 7,000 and 8,000 during the first 14 days of the month. Phiphat points out that the number of patients experiencing severe illness is low, with deaths also at a relative low of 10 – 20 a day.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the tourism minister says hotels in major tourist provinces have prepared isolation facilities for infected guests who are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms. He says tourism has to be allowed to recover given its importance to the country’s economy.

“Tourism is the engine that can revive the overall economy the fastest. It is important to resume travel activities, which have slowed since the suspension of the Test & Go scheme.”

Seemingly never far from a calculator, Phiphat says Thailand could earn around 1.3 trillion baht from tourism this year, of which 800 billion would come from domestic tourism. His ministry still has a target of between 5 and 15 million foreign tourists in 2022, but Phiphat acknowledges 8 million is probably more accurate, which would mean revenue of around 480 billion baht. However, the figure of 8 million does hinge on Test & Go resuming in February.

In terms of overseas markets, the minister has his eyes on the UK, Europe, Japan, and South Korea. However, he says tourism numbers would grow substantially with arrivals from Russia and India and could reach 9 million if Chinese citizens begin travelling again. In pre-pandemic days, China was Thailand’s biggest tourism market and Phiphat says the country will have to re-open its borders at some stage in order to support its economy.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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