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“Administrative issues” delayed Special Tourist Visa flight

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Facebook: Phuket International Airport - HKT

A senior tourism official told Reuters reporters that “administrative issues” are the reason for the delayed trip of foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa. Other officials claimed the postponement was done to help ease Covid-19 fears for Thai tourists planning on travelling to Phuket for the annual Vegetarian Festival later this month.

A group of 120 to 150 foreigners on the new long stay visa were supposed to fly from Guangzhou, China to Phuket yesterday after a 6 month ban on international tourists. Covid-19 mobile testing units were even sent to the Phuket International airport this week and are there to test foreign tourists when they enter the country.

The delay is due to issues in the process for applying and issuing the Special Tourist Visas, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

There has been confusion with a number of reports over the past week about when the flight will arrive, some saying the flight would arrive on October 8 and others saying it has been postponed.

Both the Phuket governor and the National Security Council secretary general say the flight has been rescheduled and will arrive after the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. They say many domestic tourists who plan on attending the festival fear the foreign tourists could spread the virus.

The scheme has left more questions than answers. Reuters says Chinese media has questioned the identity of the tourists and were unable to confirm any Thailand travel bookings among agents in Guangzhou.

A report from the respected Thai business journal Thansettakji says the tourists are actually business travellers under tours organised by the Thailand Longstay Company. They said the delay is due to “many points in the process.”

It seems like Thai authorities are not on the same page. Even the Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said in a previous report that he wasn’t even formally told about arrangements and that he’d “seen the news in the media.”

The Phuket Tourism Association President Bhummikitti Rujtaengam told Reuters the they have not been notified about the foreign tourist arrivals.

“Phuket is ready, but we need clarity. Where are they from? How many? And where will they stay?”

SOURCE: Reuters

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    6 Comments

    6 Comments

    1. Avatar

      Jay

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      “postponement was done to help ease Covid-19 fears for Thai tourists planning on travelling to Phuket”

      Perfect picture of what are the feelings of Thais: FEAR, TERROR, SCARE.
      Scared of tourists that would have gone into quarantine for 14 days?!? Why?! Spreading the virus from Hotel rooms?!

      I’m trying to launch my own campaign: “Fear is the real Pandemic”
      And Thailand is really deeply inside it, people here listen to their deputies, doctors, PM. If they say virus is deadly, they believe completely!
      Without changing changing people’s attitude, you won’t restart the Country!

    2. Avatar

      Nipral

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      This phony government made of brainless, corrupt liars !
      And people are starving !
      Not a word from HRH the King…

    3. Avatar

      Jack Sombra

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      The festival is the face saving excuse, if was just the festival, what happened to smaller BKK group? no festival there.

      “Administrative issues” is closer to truth, as long as you realise that is code of politics.

      Two ministry’s at least have had enough of certain individuals honing in on their area of responsibility for months and are now teaching him a lesson, not only with STV but also elite returns (both run by TaT companys). Would say meanwhile tourist industry pays price, but was STV ever really going to be any help anyway?

    4. Avatar

      Brian jones

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 4:58 pm

      What about the hush hush theory there werent really enough tourists booked on the trip in the first place. So they have had to push back the date.

    5. Avatar

      EdwardV

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 11:44 pm

      The entire STV has been one giant cluster F from start to date. Besides the fact it’s not designed to help the tourist industry. It’s way to small in scope, costly, bureaucratic and restrictive to generate anything more than token numbers. It’s hard to imagine the powers that be could have screwed up the roll out any worse if actually tried. Thailand has already been successfully running a system for months now bringing in thousands of people. Why create new system (STV) which is even more restrictive and costly if the idea was to generate tourism? You don’t increase numbers by making thing more expensive and burdensome. As a consequence it’s becoming clear there is little to no demand for the STV visa, why keep pretending? Why make up fictitious stories about imaginary groups of tourist who can’t wait to show up but for one reason or another don’t. It will be interesting to see the next few months play out. Most train wrecks are fun to watch.

    6. Avatar

      Maag

      Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 6:50 am

      PATHETIC & COMIC !

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    Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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