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Golf ASQ facilities to be announced next week – green alternatives to mandatory quarantine

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Golf ASQ facilities to be announced next week – green alternatives to mandatory quarantine | The Thaiger
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Now golfers will be able to come to Thailand, and presumably non-golfers, if they want to wander around large patches of manicured lawn during their 14 days of mandatory quarantine instead of the confines of a hotel room. The golf quarantine alternative could be used in conjunction with any of the visas allowing travellers back into Thailand at the moment, including the Special Tourist Visa and the extended Tourist Visa.

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry is about to announce the list of golf resorts that have qualified as ASQ (alternative state quarantine) facilities. And everyone’s waiting to see if the Anutin’s very own golf course in Nakhon Ratchasima is going to be on the list.

The director-general of the Department of Health Service Support says that the new golf quarantine will provide an alternative to the hotel room-bound ASQ where travellers have to remain during their quarantine time, with only short visits to the hotel’s rooftops or pools.

The new golf quarantine is being limited to travellers from low-risk countries… “who must also make arrangements in advance with certified golf courses, provide certificates showing they are virus free 72 hours before travelling and have Certificates of Entry issued by the Thai embassy in their countries”.

Just like in the hotel ASQs, travellers will have to take 3 Covid-19 tests “but will be allowed to both play golf and enjoy health-related activities”. If the travellers test positive during their 14 day stay they will be treated at the partnering hospitals. Travellers are responsible for all additional hospital costs if they test positive for Covid-19 during their ASQ.

6 golf courses had applied to be part of the scheme. The names of the golf course that have successfully registered with the CCSA as Gold ASQs will be announced by the end of next week.

The cabinet announced its approval of the Golf ASQ scheme last week and is hoping the scheme will attract golfers from Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea. It could also entice travellers that are seeking an alternative to the hotel room ASQ whether they play golf or not.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Paulnou

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    A Great opportunity to spend time to learn golf, how much will be the lesson and the green fees ?

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 10:57 pm

      How much have you got?!

    • Avatar

      J West

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 11:38 pm

      ASQs in Bangkok have been found to have Covid contaminated common areas where several nurses were infected. How are golf course equipment managers and staff less likely to be infected? Isn’t the risk of contamination the reason The Phuket Model was scrapped?

      There are suggestions being made that sound self-serving. The case numbers in Japan, S. Korea are surging. Taiwan is under lockdown and China is seeing new breakouts. Testing in Thailand has turned up hundreds of new cases. This idea is likely destined for the shedder as has been the result of so many others before it.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    This depends.
    Three years ago Pattaya was full of golf bars.
    In 1999 suddenly not many golfers.
    A American who had a little side line arranging golfers with greens and opponents, did not have nay phone calls.
    Greedy Thais killed the golden goose by increasing all the prices, then nobody paid.
    This latest scheme will not reduce their prices even if the golfers play every day for 14 days.
    Like they still charge ferangs twice the price Thais pay to run a Marathon

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Not clear about your maths there, Toby.

      “Three years ago Pattaya was full of golf bars.
      In 1999 suddenly not many golfers.”

      “Three years ago” was 2017. Things may have changed, or be different in Cambodia, but as far as I can recall 2017 was after 1999.

      ….. and I may be wrong, but I don’t think the aim of the scheme is to get golf courses to “reduce their prices even if the golfers play every day for 14 days”.

  3. Avatar

    Graham Smith

    Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:03 am

    Great!! What price is it?

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand threw a tourism party. No one arrived.

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Thailand threw a tourism party. No one arrived. | The Thaiger

OPINION

The Thai Government, flushed with the success of their containment of Covid-19, decided to market the Land of Smiles to the world as the safe place to travel. With the annual wet season starting to weaken the tourists would flock back to the S E Asian country that had such remarkable success containing, then almost eradicating, itself of the coronavirus.

They floated the Phuket Model – a chance to visit Phuket and do your mandatory quarantine in a luxury hotel with walks along the almost deserted beaches. But Phuket’s locals didn’t like that idea. It was floated again just before the annual Vegetarian Festival on the island, because piercing yourself with sharp objects and wandering around the streets in big groups isn’t dangerous, but a few foreign tourists in hotel quarantine is.

Then they came up with the STV – the tourist visa which would have the world’s eager travellers packing their sun cream for up to 270 days of Thai tourism.

There were promises of plane loads of tourists and even published flights and carriers. A few flights arrived, most didn’t.

In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, less than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October. In the October and November of the year before more than 3 million people arrived in Thailand. Even the government’s limit of 1,200 new tourist arrivals per month was even slightly tested.

The government had bought all the streamers and a pretty new dress for the party but no one came.

For the Army generals and public servants who ran the country it was a devastating loss of face. But they had other things to worry about at the time as the Thai youth were revolting, literally. Anti-government protests, whilst modest in size, were inconveniently demanding democracy at the same time as the government was trying to figure out how to attract tourists. They were also targeting, for the first time, the country’s revered monarchy and the man who currently sits on the Thai throne.

Suddently it was high season, the annual onslaught of tourists from the end of November, but popular spots like Phuket, Samui, Krabi, all the other islands, even Chiang Mai, just remained mostly devoid of tourists.

Meanwhile the STV wallowed in its own failure – another failed response to the reboot of Thai tourism.

What went wrong?

Where was the much-anticipated pent-up demand and people banging on the doors of the world’s Thai embassies?

It was the European winter and the ‘snowbirds’ would surely be back to soak in some Thai sun rays. But no.

The first problem was there wasn’t much for them to come back to. They would have the beaches of the islands all to themselves, they wouldn’t have to wait in line for anything, the domestic airlines were still selling low fares to travel anywhere around the country.

But otherwise there wasn’t a lot for them to do. The tourism magnets were a shadow of their former selves. Walking Street, Bangla Road, tours and tour boats, all the tourist-strip restaurants. The buzz of the crowds was gone and more than 90% of the tourist-related business had closed up.

Their staff, their families, their bank loans, their stock and investments – all on hold and forced to find some other means to make ends meet. 931 of some of the larger official tourism operators have now gone out of business, according to Bloomberg News. There would be thousands more of the smaller family operations that have also been swept aside by the Thai government’s responses to the world pandemic.

The industry players wanted action, changes and some sort of stimulus to bring back the tourists. For a country that relied on up to 20% for its GDP, getting the tourists and travellers back was THE only thing on their mind. 2019’s tourism revenue of US$60 billion had vanished from their, and their employee’s, pockets.

But the government wouldn’t relax the quarantine rules and maintained the restrictions and paperwork that has turned off even the keenest Thai-ravellers.

An outbreak of clusters to the south of Bangkok and the nearby eastern coastal provinces since December 20 hasn’t helped. In less than a month Thailand’s number of Covid-19 infections more than doubled. Initially the latest outbreak was tracked down to the illegal import of Burmese migrant workers by greedy seafood businesses wanting cheap labour. Then it spread to eastern provinces – Rayong, Chan Buri, Trat and Chanthaburi – through illegal gambling dens. In both cases the practices were things the local officials turned a blind eye to. The use of cheap, illegal migrant labour and illegal gambling were both popular pursuits but ‘underground’. It was a rude awakening for Thai officials that, this time, the enemy was within.

Street after street in Pattaya is deserted, shops shuttered. Parts of Phuket’s Patong are a ghost town. The island’s ubiquitous tuk tuks, taxis and tourist vans have vanished (where?!). Most of Bangkok is ‘sort of’ back to normal but there are few tourists topping up the retail till or booking rooms in the tens of thousands of hotels. Average occupancy rates, even for the brave hotels that have re-opened their doors, has been less than 30% – bottomline, they’re losing money.

On the upside, if you are living in Thailand, the plane fares remain cheap, hotels have slashed their prices and, for the first time, many renters will consider a discount. The Thai government has been active in stimulating the domestic tourism but apart from circulating the local currency, the country’s tourism industry remains on-hold until the pandemic passes. And that, as we’ve seen, won’t be any time soon.

The world’s travellers, now a much smaller groups than the masses that fuelled the world’s aviation industry in the past few decades, are not heading to Thailand to front up to a 14 day quarantine. They’re going to the Maldives and Costa Rica, and a handful of other resorts who have thrown caution to the wind – some with greater success than others. Just about every survey indicates that tourists, even business travellers, are not willing to stare down 14 days couped up in a 20-30 square metre hotel room. For many of the hotels that rushed to be registered as ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine) facilities, many have dropped out, some of them are now closed.

The stakes are now really high for Thailand and its tourism industry. The government, despite demands, is refusing to reduce the quarantine time or lessen the long list of restrictions and paperwork. The country has now lost it’s glossy veneer as the ‘safe country to visit’ and the annual high season will be coming to a close in a month or so.

Chinese New Year and the annual flood of Chinese visitors to Thailand? Won’t be happening in 2021, the Chinese year of the Ox.

The other ‘elephant in the room’ was the high value of the Thai baht against the currencies of some of the traditional feeder markets. Whilst the Thai baht has been relatively steadfast, many of these currencies have dropped in value against the THB. The perception was that Thailand as becoming too expensive to travel. But 2019 was still the biggest year for tourism on record, despite this often-wheeled out prediction of a tourism apocalypse.

The only hope on the horizon is the vaccine, or vaccines. The early global roll out is just that, early. It will take 6 – 12 months to see if the hard work of the world’s medical and scientific community will be the great saviour.Certainly, a risk-averse Thailand will be limiting any tourism in the immediate future to vaccinated customers. only, and (as stated policy) they will still have to do the 14 day mandatory quarantine, at least in the short-to medium term. Same with the world’s airlines. So Thailand’s tourism woes, especially in the hotspots – Pattaya, Phuket, the islands, Chiang Mai and Bangkok – will reverberate throughout 2021 as well.

Thailand’s economy contracted 6% in 2020 but some economists are predicting a positive turn-around to a 3.5 – 4.5% improvement in 2021. Even the ever-optimistic Thai Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says that there will be 10 million arrivals in 2021. The actual numbers, even in the best of circumstances, will fall well below that prediction. Exactly where the tourists would come from, under the current circumstances and a global depression, is difficult to imagine.

In 2020 the buzz word in the tourism industry was ‘closure’. In 2021 it will be ‘management’.

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Thailand

British arrivals ‘on hold’ after family confirmed with B117 Covid strain

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British arrivals ‘on hold’ after family confirmed with B117 Covid strain | The Thaiger

In their latest proposal, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health will request the CCSA to defer the entry of British visitors to the country after evidence of the faster-spreading B117 strain (aka. the “G strain”) of Covid-19 was found in 4 British travellers arriving in Thailand on December 21.

Over 30 countries have reported cases of the highly-transmissible UK variant of the novel coronavirus, raising fears of increased global spread of the virus, even as countries begin to unroll vaccination programs in the new year, including Singapore and Taiwan. Up to recently, Taiwan has had very few Covid-19 infections.

Vietnam is the latest nation to report a B117 case, which authorities detected in a woman quarantined after recent travel from the UK. Vietnam has banned nearly all international travel, but it is providing repatriation flights for citizens stranded in the UK.

Department of Disease Control announced that all passengers who were on board the same flight as the 4, or anyone who had come into contact with them, has now been located, tested and found to be clear of infection.

The 4 English patients were all from the same family travelling from Kent. The family are now confined to a hospital “and will not be released until medical officials test and clear them of Covid-19 risk”, according to the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine.

The Centre’s Dr Yong Poovorawan says they’ve been collecting samples from Covid-19 patients for research and reported that the Covid-19 detected in the 4 British patients are of the B117 strain which is spreading quickly through the UK.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Can I avoid the 14 day quarantine in Thailand if I’ve been vaccinated?

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Can I avoid the 14 day quarantine in Thailand if I’ve been vaccinated? | The Thaiger

Now that the Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out in some countries, the next question relevant to Thailand is… if I’ve had a vaccine for Covid-19, can I come back without doing the 14 (or 15 in some cases) days of quarantine?

The Public Health Ministry has issued a statement stating that, in the short to medium term, “everyone entering Thailand has to do at least a 14 day quarantine”.

“The quarantine will apply, even those people who have been vaccinated.”

The Public Health Ministry says the reason is because the vaccination process has only just begun in some countries around the world.

“There is no agreement or study on how effective the vaccine is in a real life environment.”

At this stage the World Health Organisation has not made an official statement about the situation.

For now, if you come to Thailand, under any visa, vaccinated or not, you will still need to do the mandatory 14 day quarantine period, at your expense, at an ASQ facility.

The Thaiger will continue to update this situation as additional statements are made on the matter.

SOURCE: ชาวต่างชาติที่ได้รับฉีดวัคซีนแล้ว หากเดินทางเข้ามาในประเทศไทย ต้องกักตัว 14 วันหรือไม่

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