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Plan for long-term visitors set for October

Caitlin Ashworth

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Plan for long-term visitors set for October | Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Kevin Bosc

After months of discussing plan after plan, Thailand will have a solid plan for long-term foreign visitors by the end of October. At least that’s what a senior officer says. (We realise you’re sick of hearing about ‘plans’ but whilst the officials keep rolling them out, we’ll keep reporting them)

Long-term travellers would need to do a 14 day quarantine, but after that they would be able to go anywhere in the country, according to secretary of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration Thosaporn Sirisumphand.

The government officials haven’t revealed anything else about the potential plan, but there was talk a couple weeks ago about developing a new 9 month long-stay visa. The proposal is aimed for so-called “snowbirds” who want to get away from Europe’s winter and stay in Thailand for the season.

Government officials are motivated to get the plan in place and hope that opening the borders to long-term visitors will help revive the tourism-dependent economy, potentially saving millions of jobs that are on the line. Thailand Development Research estimates 3.27 million jobs are at risk.

Phuket was hit hard and plans to reopen the island to international tourists are delayed. Before the pandemic, international tourists contributed to 2/3 of Phuket’s revenue from tourism. If international tourists aren’t let back in this year, 50,000 jobs could be lost, according to the Phuket Hotels Association.

In Pattaya, the city’s famous Walking Street has gone quiet. Many businesses closed and those that are still open say they desperately need foreign tourists to stay open.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lance

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    It’s just not people from Europe why are they just talking about Europe I am from the US and I am ready to come and stay for a long time aa well! I have a GF as well as a condo I am paying for!

    • Avatar

      Ada

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 11:07 am

      Because too many Covid cases in your country. We do not want you in Europe and in Thailand.
      They would have to be crazy to allow Americans to come.

  2. Avatar

    barry

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Here’s a idea: why not let foreigners currently already in Thailand and with the means to finance their extended stay in the country a chance to hop onto this new “snowbird” visa?

    Tourists, but also those falling in between the cracks like those expired non-Bs for example.
    Would certainly beat trying to get on non-O Volunteer or non-ED that shady agents are peddling at crazy rates (heard 70 000 THB quoted for a non-O volunteer this week…)

    Another option would be to introduce an exceptional extension measure, specifically for foreigners in Thailand who want to stay stay in the country and have the means to support their stay here given the exceptional circumstance – beyond stranded or not, many people have good reasons to want to stay here.

    Forget the amnesty, and move onto something more practical.

    Let’s call it Thailand’s “COVID-19 Emergency Stay Permit”.

    Here’s an outline:

    – Make foreigners register online to apply for their Covid-19 Emergency Stay Permit, then come to their local immigration office to pay and process.

    – To process the Covid-19 Emergency Stay Permit, foreigners would need 2 photos, proof of sufficient funds to finance stay in Thailand, housing info and of course the fees, along with a statement of understanding that this exceptionnal stay permit will be revoked when borders reopen

    – The Covid-19 Emergency Stay Permit is renewable every month or every 90 days (and subject to 90 day reports) until Thailand’s borders are fully reopened

    – The Covid-19 Emergency Stay Permit is offered to *all foreigners* currently on amnesty, not just tourists, regardless of current / expired visa (tourist, VOA, non immigrant type B, O-A….), as long as they can justify funds to stay in Thailand.

    Problems solved: no more amnesty, no more talk of “stranded/freeloader”, the Thai government makes money, fully controls the situation and can communicate positively on the subject, locals make money, foreigners are happy, those caught in the gaps (expired non-Bs) have a solution…

    Aaah, I’m repeating myself, byt if only Thai officials came to the Thaiger’s comment section for advice 😉

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      The Thaiger & The Nation

      Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:28 pm

      Barry for PM! Thanks for the long and considered comment Sir.

      • Avatar

        barry

        Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:40 am

        I’ll settle for Ministry of Foreign Affairs 😉
        cheers
        b

    • Avatar

      Rinky Stingpiece

      Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      Here’s a better idea, why not have annual free visas and free work permits for everyone married to a Thai. Scrap all 90-day reporting, and let people retire on 40,000 a month with no annual renewals. Stop making everything so complicated. Foreigners will come, spend money, Thais get paid.

      • Avatar

        barry

        Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:48 am

        Sure, why not – that’s how it is in quite a few places around the world, marriage gives access to residency, even in “Jus sanguinis” places like Japan (quite a few hoops to jump through though, takes a few months and loads of paperwork, and you need guarantors etc) .

        Thing is quite a few tourists and others are not married to Thais nor intend to be in the foreseeable future.
        With the current covid-conundrum people can’t get in and those that want to stay have to leave…

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:15 pm

          … and, to be fair, how it ISN’T in most places where most of those complaining about residency here come from (UK, most of Europe, USA, etc) …..

      • Avatar

        robert

        Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:26 am

        I certainly agreed with you. Irrespective of which country you come from , with all the stringent tests for covics, if I am a patient I will be stupid to enter….bearing all the costs implication. I agreed with the long term visa one year.

        Just open up for all to come in honestly but on conditions they satisfy the country terms and regulations.

        Thanks.

    • Avatar

      Sami

      Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 11:56 pm

      Aaah, I’m repeating myself, but if only Thai officials came to the Thaiger’s comment section for advice ?
      Well said!!

    • Avatar

      Not Moby

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 10:44 am

      Well said. I am in a similar situation. If there was a cost-effective way to stay in Thailand legally and work as a self-employed consultant, I’d stay as long as I can – paying taxes, a lease, and shopping/traveling locally. The current rules make it next to impossible to do that. So I’ve opted to relocate to Cambodia where a foreigner can easily and legally register and run a business, and the cost of living is about half as much as Bangkok. The contradiction between pushing out the farang (and our money) currently here legally and chasing an unworkable long stay tourism program is self-defeating in both the short and long terms.

  3. Avatar

    Sami

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    (We realize you’re sick of hearing about ‘plans’ but whilst the officials keep rolling them out, we’ll keep reporting them)…..my full sympathies towards you…I couldnt agree more..

  4. Avatar

    Alex

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    “We realise you’re sick of hearing about ‘plans’ but whilst the officials keep rolling them out, we’ll keep reporting them”

    You can’t even take it seriously anymore! They are on a roll, rolling them out. But that’s about it!
    The credibility about these plans going back and forth from the start is long gone already.

    I’m sick and tired of this Corona BS! Because it is BS!

  5. Avatar

    Joe

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    We are not sick of hearing about plans but sick of hearing about the 14 day quarantine period which will not work.

  6. Avatar

    Gary

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    So many retirees waiting to get back , all with many bills to pay, I know, would be an easy start. What really is the difference between a Thai doing 14 day quarantine and a farang doing the same, if the farang has health insurance, apart from the obvious, they are Thai?

  7. Avatar

    Eddie

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Not only sick with the plans…we also sick with their imbecile officials…

    • Avatar

      Sami

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:20 am

      Issan John,,,,are you reading this???

  8. Avatar

    RR

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:03 am

    Nobody mentally sane would ever overpay a hotel for 2 weeks of prison even if they will stay for 9 months, unless the quarantine period is chosen by the traveller and, most of all, not paid for.

  9. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:43 am

    Oct is a few weeks away. Better be circulating the plan for final review!

  10. Avatar

    Mark

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Sounds like Thai Government is really doing well in establishing plans every two weeks.

    Not sure if they considered that people around the globe have to work as well within their home countries. And exactly these people earn money which they are able to spend on vacation.

    Of course there are freelancers or elderly people which have the possibility to work from home or don’t work any more. For sure!

    But just look into global statistics and you can see easily who which part of the workforce spends most during having a holiday. Just a fact.

    I am from Europe. And vacation here is managed since some months already. Because it is an important part of economics.

    How? Let selected countries fly into, step by step. Test people directly at arrival (quick test) at the airport and tell them to go directly into their home or hotel. Test results will be delivered within 24-36 hours. If negative everything fine. If positive -> quarantine.

    If a tourist or business traveler breaks the rules he/she has to pay big fines.

    Every country in the world has to deal with the situation. Just a fact.
    Of course, Thai Government can go ahead like this. But from my perspective it is just mismanagement. Let’s wait for the next two or three plans. 😉

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Yes, thank you.

    Not much point in trying to convince the likes of Alex that it’s not all down to 5G and the moon’s not made of cheese.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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.

Thailand

THAILAND NEWS TODAY | Slight drop in new cases, Pattaya Pit Bull aftermath, Australia and New Zealand open travel bubble | April 19

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THAILAND NEWS TODAY | Slight drop in new cases, Pattaya Pit Bull aftermath, Australia and New Zealand open travel bubble | April 19 | Thaiger

You can watch today’s program HERE.

A technical glitch today has us uploading today’s Thailand News Today on Facebook only. We apologise for the inconvenience and will get back to ‘normal’ (or is that the ‘new normal’) tomorrow.

Thailand’s CCSA reported a total of 1,390 new Covid infections today, tallied from Thailand’s provinces in the past 24 hours. The good news is that the tally is a welcome drop in new case reports. The bad news is that it’s still a record levels of new infections, compared to the last surges in December last year and earlier in April 2020. Yesterday there were 1,767 new infections reported by the CCSA.

3 more people have died of Covid-related illnesses, 14,851 people remain under state supervision.

After Bangkok with 293 new infections, Chiang Mai reported 197 cases, Chon Buri 98, Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) 82, Nonthaburi (directly north west of Bangkok) 39, Nakhon Pathom 38, and Samut Sakhon 32 and Songkhla 32.

Only 6 of today’s new infections were reported.

Meanwhile, the next school term, scheduled to kick off again next month, could be deferred until June due if the current situation persists. Thai Education Minister says the proposed postponement will be discussed with the Office of the Basic Education Commission today.

And, the Ministry of Interior has just updated their ‘List of Provinces with Entry Restrictions’ bringing the new total to 47 provinces that have restrictions to get in. The message from the government is that if you’re in a red zone province you should try and stay there and not leave your province.

Local provinces continue to upgrade their arrival restrictions. It’s impossible for us to keep track of the 77 provinces and whatever we say now will be wrong before we even post the video. So please keep an eye on your local province’s official notices about travel.

Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is working with other environmental departments to determine how best to save a popular tourist attraction in Phang Nga bay. Khao Ta Pu, locally known as James Bond island for tourists, in at risk of collapse, due to seawater erosion. The ministry is working with counterparts in the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in efforts to save the popular day trip attraction.

Whilst travel bubbles remain a bureaucratic nightmare for most SE Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand have opened their first green lanes since April last year, nearly 400 days. For the two countries it allows family and friends to re-unite. For New Zealand it opens the gates for its largest chunk of tourists. In 2019 some 1.5 million tourists visited New Zealand from Australia.

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry insists the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac, is effective in protecting recipients against the virus. Dr. Supakit Sirilak from the Department of Medical Science was responding to a claim on social media from a man who says he took a rapid test after receiving the CoronaVac vaccine and it showed he’d developed no immunity whatsoever.

Things have gone from bad to worse to worse in the story about the man attacked by his pit bull in Chon Buri last week. After being rescued from the attack, the man died the next day from neck bites and loss of blood. Now his widow is lashing out at the wave of online attacks levied against the family and their treatment of the dog, threatening legal action using Thailand’s strict computer crime and defamation laws.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Current list of restrictions for provinces around Thailand

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Current list of restrictions for provinces around Thailand | Thaiger

The situation continues to be quite fluid. But if you need to travel at this time, here are the latest restrictions in the red and orange zone provinces. If you planning on travelling, you need to get acquainted with the latest restrictions in your destination province, and you should check if you need additional travel documents.

The could change at any time, so if you are going to be doing any travelling (the government are advising against it), you should get your paperwork ready in advance.

Provincial governors are also being given latitude by the central government to upscale any of the restrictions to meet local situations.

The infographic was compiled by the NBT.

Current list of restrictions for provinces around Thailand | News by Thaiger

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Tourism

Thailand’s 3rd wave wreaks havoc on the Tourism Restart Plan – where are we now?

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Thailand’s 3rd wave wreaks havoc on the Tourism Restart Plan – where are we now? | Thaiger
PHOTO: Empty beaches of Hua Hin - AJ Wood

OPINION by Andrew J Wood

Thailand Ministers ponder the next steps to re-start it’s massive tourism industry, initially set for July 1, 2021 in Phuket. The plan may need to be overhauled as Phuket struggles to immunise the whole island in the wake of the third wave of hotspots. Phuket, prior to the third wave had already secured more than 100,000 doses and planned to receive an additional 930,000 doses by June.

This would be enough for 70% of the population – the target needed to achieve herd immunity. The spike in Covid-19 cases has interrupted this plan, as vaccines must also be allocated to other provinces urgently to help fight the latest outbreaks.

Not deterred, the Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said he plans to meet next week with all relevant agencies to discuss the reopening plan, previously set for July this year. Eighteen provinces have now been declared red zones, with a partial lockdown and stay at home order. The alert warning was also raised across the rest of the country to orange, in all the remaining 59 provinces many of which had previously been green and considered safe.

Deciding to ignore expert warnings, the government allowed the Songkran holidays to go ahead, even adding an extra day. However no mass gatherings or water splashing were allowed.

(Songkran is the Thai New Year celebration which typically lasts 3-4 days, leading to a mass exodus of cities like Bangkok).

Last year, due to Covid-19, the holiday was cancelled. As a result of the holiday this year, a few outbreaks in Bangkok allowed the virus to spread widely. The Bangkok outbreaks centred on entertainment places; restaurant-pubs and nightclubs around the Thonglor area, plus a high-society wedding at a new riverside hotel, whose guest list included a number of government Ministers and prominent business leaders.

The Covid virus from these few hotspots were quickly spread throughout the whole country, as people returned to their homes for the holidays. Unfortunately this was a perfect storm for spreading the virus. Up until this point, since the beginning of the pandemic, Thailand had only recorded 28,889 cases and 94 deaths as at April 1, 2021. Eighteen days later this has risen to 43,742 cases and 104 deaths. An increase in cases of 51%.

During my recent visit to Hua Hin, empty beaches were very much in evidence already with the third wave leading to mass cancellations. Some resorts, previously 70-80% occupied, saw domestic arrivals decimated. Already hurting from a lack of international visitors, this latest outbreak was a most unwelcome guest.

The question of re-opening Thailand to Tourism, starting with Phuket, has obviously taken a knock backwards.

“The key determinant is insufficient vaccines, we are concerned about the re-opening timeline. We still need to discuss the vaccine administration plan. If the herd immunity goal cannot be achieved, we may have to consider opening only certain areas in Phuket”.

However, to continue with the same plan, even with restricted zones, will not be easy as long as the country still has increasing new daily infections, said Minister Pipat.

“Most importantly, we still have to hear from other countries that we already started travel bubble negotiations with about their confidence regarding the same timeline.”

Like Hua Hin, hotels in the North reported cancellations of more than 70% with Chiang Mai a cause for concern and currently experiencing increased coronavirus cases. Prior to the pandemic, the province was a popular destination to celebrate Thai New Year.

Regrettably Minister Pipat is in self-quarantine after being in close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19. The Minster fortunately has already received his first vaccination jab last month (AstraZeneca) and will remain in isolation until next week when all tests are complete (3 swab tests).

ANDREW J WOOD

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a past Director of Skål International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

The content of this article reflects the writer and does not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of The Thaiger.

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