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You introduce new visa requirements? We don’t send any tours.” – Taiwan

Greeley Pulitzer

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You introduce new visa requirements? We don’t send any tours.” – Taiwan | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

“This is not the first time the Thailand Trade and Economic Office has come under fire for enforcing unpopular policies that were introduced without a lot of thought.”

It’s now emerged that the proposed requirement for Taiwanese tourists to submit financial statements to obtain a Thai visa happened after the Travel Agents Association of Taiwan threatened to boycott tours to Thailand. Nothing like a threat of tourist numbers to convince the Thai government to review its stance on the Taiwanese tourists’ visas!

In November the Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei announced a new policy requiring tourist visa applicants to submit submit bank details for the previous three months to prove that they could cover their travel expenses. Unlike in the past, they would also be required to apply online for an appointment, then submit the documents in person.

The new policy, which was to take effect on December 1, would have eventually applied to Taiwan, China, Britain and France. The TTEO says it chose Taiwan to implement the procedure because of its “advanced information technology”.

Travel Agents Association of Taiwan chairman Hsiao Po-jen (蕭博仁) says the Taiwanese ministry should halt its visa-waiver program for Thai tourists.”

Travellers and travel agents in Taiwan have said the policy was disrespectful and said the Taiwanese government humiliated itself by agreeing to it. But the TTEO decided on the policy unilaterally and the Taiwan government was not involved, according to a spokesperson

The China News Agency reports that the plan will now be postponed until March 1 “to give applicants sufficient time to prepare and to acquaint themselves with the new method”.

Nearly 700,000 Taiwanese tourists travel to Thailand each year.

“Why do they need a financial statement when they apply for visas? Taiwan is not a third world country,” the head of the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan said. “The policy is just ridiculous.”

Many people also complained that they couldn’t even access the new online visa-application system.”

This is not the first time the TTEO has come under fire for enforcing unpopular policies that were introduced without a lot of thought. Last year, the Association protested a proposed 470 baht increase in visa fees, threatening to stop sending tourists to Thailand. The proposal was eventually scrapped

SOURCE: Taipei Times

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus – six new cases confirmed in Thailand

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus – six new cases confirmed in Thailand | The Thaiger

Six new cases of of the novel coronavirus are now confirmed for Thailand by the Ministry of Public Health. That brings the total number of cases detected to 14. The six new cases have all been hospitalised.

Dr. Suhum Kanchanapimai, the Public health permanent secretary, confirmed that five of the six confirmed cases were members of the same Chinese family who had travelled from Hubei province together. The sixth, also a Chinese tourist, came from Chongqing, south west of Hubei (where Wuhan is the capital).

The five family members range in age from 6 to 60. They were detected when they arrived in Thailand and isolated for two blood tests. The tests came up positive. The five family, plus the sixth patient, are currently in Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, in Nonthabiri, Bangkok for treatment.

Of the eight cases confirmed in Thailand, five have already been discharged and returned home to China. Three are still hospitalised in isolation but they are reported to be “out of danger” and recovering well.

Read the latest on new cases and deaths from the Coronavirus HERE.

136 Chinese tourists have been examined at airports or hospitals after being suspected of being infected. But most were found to be infected with common flu – 55 of them have already returned home.

A new automatic thermo-scanning, at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports, has been activated today, with all passengers arriving from China on all flights being subjected to the upgraded screening process.

“The Public Health Ministry will not cover up any information related to the novel coronavirus.”

Up until now, only passengers from Wuhan, Guangzhou and northeastern Changchun were screened across five airports – Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai, Don Mueang, Phuket and Krabi.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus

Immigration checkpoints enhance hygiene measures nationwide

Greeley Pulitzer

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Immigration checkpoints enhance hygiene measures nationwide | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Health screening measures are being augmented today at immigration checkpoints nationwide - NNT

Health screening measures are being boosted today at immigration checkpoints nationwide to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus into Thailand. Since cases were confirmed in Malaysia and Singapore, officials at the Betong border crossing in the southernmost province Yala are using handheld thermometers to screen suspected contaminanees.

Meanwhile enhanced hygiene measures are being implemented at immigration checkpoints at all airports across the Kingdom. The improved measures will help protect officials at international airports, who are in contact with tens of thousands of passengers daily, with special screening protocols at Guangzhou, where health experts be assigned specific gates. All flights from Wuhan have been cancelled as the Chinese city which is at the epicentre of the outbreak is in effective lockdown.

The Immigration Bureau said yesterday that the enhanced hygiene measures will bolster passengers’ confidence. Immigration checkpoints will be cleaned hourly with disinfectant and alcohol spray, especially in areas where officers and passengers interact. Immigration officials at all airports will wear masks and gloves, as they must handle many passports and frequently converse with passengers.

Hand sanitiser bottles for passengers will be placed on immigration counters for passengers to use, and officials will increase their surveillance of coughing and sneezing passengers, who will be referred to the airport’s health control team. Officials’ will also be monitored, and those showing symptoms will be sent to doctors immediately.

There are currently no confirmed cases of Wuhan Coronavirus infection in Yala or southern Thailand, but Betong district is considered to be at high risk as it welcomes many Malaysian-Chinese and Singaporean-Chinese tourists.

In Samut Songkhram, southwest of Bangkok, the district chief has delivered sanitary masks to vendors at Amphawa floating market, in an attempt to reduce the chances of infection. Amphawa has ordered hotels and homestays to monitor the health of their guests, and notify authorities should any guest show symptoms.

Amphawa floating market is a tourist attraction popular among Chinese, with about half of all visitors coming from China.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Coronavirus

No permission from Beijing to evacuate Thais from China

Greeley Pulitzer

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No permission from Beijing to evacuate Thais from China | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses reporters yesterday - The Nation

China has so far not granted Thailand permission to land a plane to evacuate Thais in light of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says China is handling the situation, and the Thai government must prepare a list of Thai nationals currently in China, an assembly point and a departure table before permission is given.

“China confirmed that it can still control the virus… Flights must be approved by the destination country first… As long as the situation is under control, they are unnecessary. Otherwise, there would be a confusion of flights from other countries,”

The Thai embassy in China reports that there are no urgent requests to return to Thailand from Thais who are currently in China. The PM asked people to be calm and support officials in doing their jobs, as the government has planes on standby and the Minister of Foreign Affairs is managing the process.

Pressed on his harsh style in dealing with the media, Prayut said the government doesn’t have time to answer all the press’s questions and it isn’t necessary to publish every detail of their work.

Read our latest update on the coronavirus situation around the world HERE.

SOURCES: The Nation | The Bangkok Post

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