Thailand’s tourism operators have expressed frustration and concern over the possibility that the Test & Go entry scheme could be scrapped. However, Yuthasak Supasorn from the Tourism Authority of Thailand has rushed to reassure them, pointing out that nothing has been decided yet and that all viewpoints will be taken into consideration.
“We still have to hear from the CCSA about the final decision this week. The CCSA has stated clearly it plans to listen to all stakeholders carefully before nailing down a decision.”
Despite the TAT’s assurances, tourism operators are nervous. According to a Bangkok Post report, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi from the Thai Hotels Association fears a return to quarantine measures would be a big mistake. She points out that many hotel staff have only just returned to work and the move could see them unemployed once more.
“Thai tourism operators don’t want to start over again with a mandatory quarantine.”
Marisa says the existing Test & Go scheme should continue, but with some enhanced screening measures. She suggests a PCR test taken within 24 or 48 hours of departure to Thailand, in addition to a requirement for a booster vaccine to be included as part of the vaccination certificate, and a health pass to be required in all public spaces.
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam from the Phuket Tourist Association shares her belief that Test & Go should stay, but says if it is scrapped, tourists should be allowed visit under a sandbox scheme, as opposed to mandatory quarantine.
“Phuket is really confident about the safety of the entry process we set for the sandbox programme in July. It’s acceptable if the Test & Go scheme is scrapped and we only received tourists via the sandbox scheme, but we strongly disagree if tourists coming to the island have to stay in quarantine.”
In the east of the country, Thanet Supornsahasrungsi from the Chon Buri Tourism Council is also worried about the potential reintroduction of mandatory quarantine. He adds that business and tourism operators in Pattaya are very concerned about sudden changes to entry requirements, particularly at this time of year. According to the Bangkok Post report, forward bookings in Pattaya have already reached the 70% mark and several hotels reported being fully booked for the New Year period.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post