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Tourism officials call for vaccine passport strategy to re-open tourism in Q4

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Nehal Patel on Unsplash

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says the Kingdom must agree a “vaccine passport” policy by June in order to welcome foreign tourists by the fourth quarter of the year. Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the TAT says such a scheme would have a significant impact on the international market, where many countries have already embarked on large-scale vaccination programmes.

“TAT plans to bring back international tourists by the fourth quarter but that will depend largely on our policy development too.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, the TAT is also calling for an “area quarantine” policy from the third quarter of the year, similar to what’s being done for a group of tourists from Indonesia, now carrying out villa quarantine on the southern island of Phuket.

Siripakorn says recent polls of overseas travel agents and tourists show that people are prepared to be vaccinated if it means they can travel internationally once more. Meanwhile the Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airlines is pushing for the mandatory 14-day quarantine to be eased at Thailand’s beach destinations for the third quarter of the year, adding that it’s ready to resume direct flights to Phuket.

The TAT has conducted a survey of over 4,000 British people, with 75% saying they would agree to be vaccinated if it was a mandatory requirement in countries they wish to travel to. However, 41% are against vaccination in the case of countries insisting on quarantine. In Finland, another survey revealed that 99% of people agree with the importance of vaccines for international travel, but 68% say they won’t travel to any country still enforcing mandatory quarantine. The Finnish survey also shows that Thailand remains a favourite destination, chosen by 62% of participants. Siripakorn says the survey findings indicate the importance of a vaccine passport scheme for Thailand.

“Those surveys clearly told us that the government must accelerate a concrete plan for a vaccine passport by June in order to receive inoculated tourists, or else we could miss a huge opportunity as some countries have already started quarantine-free programmes for vaccinated travellers.”

In a further tourism drive, the London office of the TAT has launched a marketing campaign called, “Linger Longer”, to promote 60 day holiday packages. It’s understood tourists availing of the package plan to arrive over the Easter break.

Meanwhile, the TAT offices in Mumbai and New Delhi have reported an uptake in bookings, with 2 groups of between 200 and 300 Indian tourists planning to hold weddings at beach hotels in the Kingdom. The TAT projects that at each group will spend at least 10 million baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Frank

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:41 am

    If a vaccine is required to enter Thailand, I will not be participating
    My belief is the vaccine is a poison to the body.
    Getting the test and a one week quarantine should be sufficient for travel

    • Avatar

      Larry

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:16 am

      These vaccines have been tested in tens of thousands of cases during trial and now hundreds of millions of individuals have been vaccinated with health professionals closely monitoring any side effects. As far as I have seen, only limited mild side effects have actually been associated with the vaccine itself. “Poison” it is not.

      If I am willing to get a medically tested and approved medical injection from my doctor when I’m sick and believe it medically appropriate, I’m not sure why I wouldn’t get a medically tested and approved vaccine when a lethal pandemic is raging around the world.

      But I also believe that everyone gets to decide what they stick in their own body and if you are willing to forego travel to places it is required, then I wish you the best. Stay safe and healthy.

      • Avatar

        Larry

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:32 am

        This article doesn’t even mention the fact that these vaccines aren’t designed to prevent transmission. And there is very limited data about how well these vaccines prevent transmission. They have been quickly developed and approved, so the limited time they had for trials was focused on safety and how well it prevents illness in the person vaccinated.

        Since this virus is airborne, it gets caught in the mucus membranes of the nose and throat. It gets transmitted from coughing, sneezing, and even talking or breathing, so it can be transmitted from the nose and throat directly.

        Unfortunately, the immune response the vaccine triggers fights the virus in the body, not in the mucus where the virus gets lodged.

        Fortunately, some very early data has shown that some of the vaccines might actually be about 60% effective at reducing transmission. But in a local population that hasn’t been vaccinated, that just means an outbreak that will happen at a slower pace.

        And if some vaccines are shown to be more effective than others at reducing transmission, is the government prepared to accept people who’ve had some vaccines but not others? That sounds like chaos in the making.

        My best guess is that they might consider doing the “vaccine passport” and then race to get the local population vaccinated before the ensuing outbreak gets out of control. But given how conservative the government (and population) has been so far, even that seems somewhat unlikely.

        • Avatar

          Joe

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:45 pm

          Yes Thailand is really racing with the vaccine, but yes you are right, that would be the solution.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:53 pm

          Exactly, Larry – not “mentioned” but even a deaf mute could tell you.

          • Avatar

            Fred glue

            Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:47 pm

            Vigina listen here I work with mute people. Your a low life fucking parasite . Get some fucking manners, your father should have pull-out, & put you up against the bed sheets. DOG…..

          • Avatar

            London Al

            Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:53 pm

            You’ve been stating this as a fact for a long time John when the truth has been nobody knows, now of course we get to find out and you may have seen the first real-world data from Israel which clearly shows that BioNTech and Pfizer vaccines stop infection and transmission of the virus.

            So this is good news (maybe not for you), the vaccine plus testing is enough to let people in and I think we’re going to see the vaccine passport become commonplace rather quickly.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:32 pm

            Actually, London A1, the dara from Israel doesn’t show that. It shows that transmission is reduced, not stopped.

            Even if reduced by 95% (and current estimates are 75%) that leaves 5%. Being conservative that’s probably up to two or three per flight based on numbers currently tested pre-flight and proving positive in quarantine.

            If people aren’t vaccinated that’s more than enough.

        • Avatar

          Lily

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 3:24 pm

          Good point Larry!
          Nobody knows what the experimental vaccine will do in a couple off years. And for the record: officially you cannot call it a vaccine, because the doesn’t fort the requirements for an vaccine. A vaccine has to prevent you get ill or to recover you. So at this point is has a temporary approval for one year. Still in phase 3. If you get the vaccine you’re part of the big test phase, which it’s require to get the vaccine status. At the moment it’s nothing more than some kind of medicines that helps a little bit.

          This is the biggest experiment in the world ever….

    • Avatar

      David Mann

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:15 pm

      Frank, do you honestly believe it’s a poison to the body? Do you believe that’s the case with all other vaccines? Perhaps not the place to have this debate, but I literally find it amazing that anyone can make such a claim. I can understand a claim that a particular vaccine may have side effects; possibly even lethal side effects. But to suggest vaccines are a poison is dangerous. Would also be interesting to know if you drink alcohol as that is a poison and yet I enjoy a few too many beers. Such a strange odd world we live in.

    • Avatar

      John paul

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more.
      If the vacine is mandatory I will no longer be taking my annual visit to Thailand

  2. Avatar

    D-Boy

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:10 am

    When is anybody going to address the retirees???!!!

    • Avatar

      Fred glue

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:55 am

      Well D-Boy, you have too ask Issan (Webster dictionary) John for that answer. He is in charge of tourism,
      C-19, transport, education, railway’s, hospitals, law, finance, roads, police, parks & wild life, rice crops, lawmakers, water, vaccines, airports, & lottery. I am sure he will spin you a lie, so be careful…….

      • Avatar

        Bill

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:59 am

        funny. this guy gets off to this tho. don’t feed the troll.

      • Avatar

        E-San Joke

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 11:37 am

        Give the guy a break, he’s just someone with a little too much time on his hands, dedicated to killing it on his soapbox, the Thaiger comment section.

        The ever-so-slightly condescending tone, self-importance and seemingly iron-clad assertiveness all come with the territory – it’s a fairly common for people in this age-group to appropriate the medium this way, in a way the online version of “that uncle” you had to put up with at socials…

        If you look past this unpleasantness, there’s some good stuff thrown in there as well. I find his default stance of defending his “adopted” country against the misconceptions of shall we say the “misinformed masses” amusing and often quite enlightening, especially when it comes to understanding what attracts such stereotypical blokes to places like this.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 11:53 am

        Some say he also practices witch craft in a bamboo hut in the jungle.
        This give him special powers to know everything!

      • Avatar

        Joe

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:48 pm

        And to make it extra confusing there are 2 issan Johns now, someone else is using his name. You can usually recognise the real one by his annoying know it all attitude.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 5:14 pm

          The other two Issan Johns are fake, I’m the real Issan John everybody.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      What retirees?

  3. Avatar

    Maverick

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:14 am

    I am sure there will be quarantine facilities available for those that choose not to be vaccinated it’s a free world after all (at least I thought so) I faced a similar dilemma in Africa , in the end my job depended on travel and yellow fever vaccine – my first since childhood ……..I will have the Covid vaccine if it means I can visit my elderly father in NZ and be reunited with my daughter who I haven’t seen for 2 years…..personal choice as it should be. I chose not have a flu jab as I never seemed to catch it and on the odd occasion I did wasn’t putting my family at risk. Good luck with your travel plans.

  4. Avatar

    Dreamon

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:47 am

    TAT know shit about anything.

  5. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:51 am

    It sure seems Thailand is going to do whatever they can to try and reopen for the fourth quarter. Looks like they plan on a two prong approach, for those vaccinated and those who are not. Those who are not will have to quarantine like the people in Phuket. Those who are vaccinated will either have a very small quarantine or none at all. Either way there is at least a chance we will be in Thailand this year.

    • Avatar

      Andy W

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 11:15 am

      TAT are desperate to open as soon as possible (protecting their jobs) but the government only give lip service to getting mass tourism back.

  6. Avatar

    Gigitour

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    but it is not forbidden to make weddings or anything else on the beaches

  7. Avatar

    J West

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    “Favorite destination of Finland”? No surprise there. Ever been to Finland in the winter? I think any Fin would chew their leg off if given the choice between a Thai 90 degree February and a 60 below Arctic weather front like they’re experiancing right now. No brainier poll…..duhhhhh.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    So …”The TAT has conducted a survey of over 4,000 British people, with 75% saying they would agree to be vaccinated if it was a mandatory requirement in countries they wish to travel to”.

    Must have been a hell of a survey, as take up of the vaccine in the UK has been 82% so far 😮

    • Avatar

      Robert Bunker

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      John. Exclude London and BAME reluctant population and the figure is 95% across the rest of the country for those that have been offered ( happily myself included )

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:17 pm

        So I believe, Robert B.

        The point I was making was the absurdity of the TAT saying that 75% of Brits will agree to be vaccinated if they need it to travel when more than that are ALREADY agreeing to be vaccinated anyway!

  9. Avatar

    Robert Bunker

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    A lot of talk about vaccine this and that based on everything but experience. I received Pfizer vaccine last week in UK. Count everyday and so far still have only 10 fingers and 10 toes. Our NHS reports this week early analysis of data showing at least 75% reduction in transmission. 2nd jab early May. Anti vaxxers going be left feeling both dumb and lonely very soon i think

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:12 pm

      Sorry, Robert B, but I can’t find that “75%” figure in any of the reports, just that “we don’t yet know how much these vaccines will reduce the risk of you passing Covid-19 onto others.”

      Even 75% is actually pretty poor as that would mean 25% of those arriving potentially being contagious – or, more realistically, at least a quarter of those who arrive contagious now so maybe half a dozen on every flight.

      Half a dozen contagious on every flight really isn’t very reassuring 🙁

      • Avatar

        Robert Bunker

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:35 pm

        John. My mistake. Figure being reported today in Telegraph article today is 70% reduction in transmission- this based on one jab only and described by professor Aziz Sheikh at Uni of Edinburgh as “spectacular”
        Source Public Health Scotland survey of 1.1 million Scots.?

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:40 pm

          70% may be “spectacular” but it still leaves 30%. Even upped to 90% with a second jab, that still leaves 10%.

          Obviously far from everyone arriving vaccinated will be contagious, but if only 1% of the 10% are, which is pretty minimal, that’s 1,000 in every million tourists.

          How many do you need to start another pandemic?

      • Avatar

        David Mann

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:40 pm

        I don’t think the figures work like that IJ. Currently (even with the early stage vaccine rollout) the average infection rate in the U.K. is around 137/100,000 people. Given the U.K. is one of the highest in the world and even using that figure and assuming 100,000 tourists arrive each day in to Thailand (36 million a year), then around 137 people (statistically) would be infected. Assuming everyone has to have been vaccinated to travel and using your figure of 25% still contagious, means a maximum of 34 people per day would be infectious entering the country. In 2 months time, that 137/100,000, and taking in to account all the other countries with much mower infections, then that rate will likely drop to 20/100,000 which means only 5 people per day (could) be infectious. Add to that additional screening such as a Covid PCR test 72 hours prior to travel and some additional airport screening, and the number could fall to 1 or 2 people per day, and that assume mass tourism back to pre-pandemic levels. Move it on 4 months as infection rates fall even further due to vaccination and a more realistic figure of 40,000 people arriving each day and the number could fall to 1 or 2 people per week who could be infectious. That’s a tiny fraction of what the current local transmission rate is.
        Please remember that some people skim read comments and will assume you are saying 25% of each plane load of people are infectious !!!

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:53 pm

          My hypothetical numbers based on 1% of the 10% aren’t far off yours, but excluding Thais (who aren’t pre-flight tested) there are still at least 2 or 3 still arriving now who are infectious or proving infectious during quarantine.

          That’s with minimal numbers – not 100,000 per day but closer to 1,000 per day, frequently less.

          How many do you need to re-start the process?

          The only answer has to be vaccination, and there’s no reason why it can’t be done.

    • Avatar

      dispensed

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      The ~80% reduction in cases in the US and UK over the last 6 weeks was almost entirely due to natural immunity.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:54 pm

        and it just happened to coincide with mass vaccinations? 😮

  10. Avatar

    Andy W

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    If they haven’t had at least an outline strategy for vaccinated mass tourism in reserve now then they’re already months behind other mass tourism destinations.

    • Avatar

      Robert Bunker

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:58 pm

      Andy W. Strategy is not something i think they would understand. They are only generals after all. But just you wait until the money starts moving elsewhere (which won’t take long by the way) and then you will be amazed at the speed of response.

  11. Avatar

    Lily

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Thailand is not going to open by the end of this year. As long as Thailand is not honest about its Covid cases and saying the immigrant’s and certain ladies are the problems of importing the virus, there will be Covid cases.
    When the incubation period is about 5 days, and just before the quarantine period ends people get infected or get infected after leaving the quarantine period: there I a huge amount of Covid under the local people.
    Must be since Thailand was a big hub with China. Nobody believed Thailand did not have a lot of covid cases last year till April when the borders where still open.
    In the South, were all lot of people sick in January 2020. I came sick from chiang mai after New Year. And I was not the only one in the hotel and hospital.

    There is an article on thai medical which suggest, that it might started in South of Thailand instead of China.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:57 pm

      … not again …

      • Avatar

        Lily

        Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 1:44 am

        …..not again John
        That’s what people thinking when they see your name under a reply
        ….. Not again
        Boringggggggg

  12. Avatar

    luca

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    thailand forgets that there are many competitors on the tourism market, for example next summer it will be possible to travel to europe freely, a finn could never prefer a 14-day holiday in a Bangkok hotel to a trip to southern italy, greece or in spain? He would find even more beautiful places than in Thailand without having to go to prison for two weeks. They are now prisoners of their own policy of pursuing zero infections, they will not be able to change it until all Thais are vaccinated, in the middle of 2022 if they are lucky.

    • Avatar

      J West

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      I don’t know why the ASQ program can’t be expanded to a “ full service” model. This would make the 14 day stay much more palatable to the detainees. Right now the “ Villa” and “ Golf Course” model requires hotel staff to remain on site during the detention.

      If that’s the case why can’t a “ nice girl” be paid to ‘staycation’ and the room stocked with a customers favorite booze? What’s the difference between having a maid in the room everyday and a “ nice girl” in residence?

      This isn’t entirely new. When I first came in the ‘60’s , long before tourism, it was normal to rent a room in the countries interior towns “ with or without” live company. There was always a bottle of Mekong on ice in the room. The “ special service” was a standard 60 Baht for the company. And since it was the room where the girl lived it was like a sleepover.. Many hotels in downtown BKK around Hualompong had “floor girls”, different on each floor, who would listen for you to finish showering and then knock on the door….and for an average of 60 Baht +/- , you were well taken care of. Very old school and understated. I miss the good old days.

      If a punter could get this kind of ASQ I’m sure the program would sell out. Why not make it fun? A girl to stay, an endless bar tab? Who wouldn’t sign up for two weeks of that? Some guys might pay for a second round.

  13. Avatar

    Boris B

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Normality is coming guys a few more months and everything will be back to normal. At last we can move back to some kind of norm!!

    • Avatar

      David Mann

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 5:21 pm

      Agreed Boris. Maybe not until Q4 but it is coming. But let’s be clear when we say normality. This will mean people are still dying of Covid just as they do now due to pneumonia. This virus is here to stay and countries like Thailand and everywhere else will need to stop fearing it and live with it. Locking down was the right thing to do to save lives. But the vaccines are the way out but it’s not a cure. It’s not going to eradicate this virus in the short term.

      Some interesting data for other viral diseases from the past which show what typical vaccines do. In 1968 the U.K. typically had 240,000 Measles cases per year. The vaccine was introduced and that case number declined each year until in 2019 there were only 2,400 cases. A similar picture with whooping cough. 85,000 cases until 1957 when the vaccine was introduced, but in 2019 there were still 4,000 cases. Diphtheria has been more successful with around 42,000 cases until 1942 when a vaccine arrived. In 2019 it was down to just 10 cases. But in all of these examples it has taken 5-10 years before the numbers were significantly reduced and yet not eliminated. If Thailand and other countries are going to lockdown each time 10 people test positive with Covid then normality is 25-50 years away!

  14. Avatar

    Peter Nielsen

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Those surveys look constructed and designed to support a certain political agenda. I wouldn’t trust them.

  15. Avatar

    Ben

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    Thailand and the rest of the world will begin to open up this year now that we have a tool kit of vaccines, better treatments and testing. The virus will not disappear but will be manageable with the tool kit which will continue to improve with time.

    Many will choose not to vaccinate no matter how much data is available which means the virus will still be with us. They will bear the brunt of infection, serious illness and death, from COVID-19, as they age just like they do with the flu and pneumonia.

  16. Avatar

    James

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Goodby thailand, very silly and delusional behaviour

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