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Travel businesses told to prep for long stay tourists, with an October kick-start looming

Caitlin Ashworth

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The first round of long-stay tourists on the newly approved visa will be able to enter Thailand by the start of October and the Tourism Ministry is pushing for tourism business to get ready now (get ready for a predicted 1,200 tourists per month?!). On the other hand, not much as been said about the thousands of foreigners who are already here, many of them trying to figure out how to stay in the country.

Whilst the country’s TAT and the ministry of sports and tourism hammered out the arrangements for the new Special Tourist Visa, the online reception has been less than enthusiastic. Many foreigners, hoping to return to Thailand to live, or as tourists, believe the minimum 90 day stay and 14 day quarantine, plus the need to book only on charter flights, remains overly restrictive. Read some more of your comments in our ‘Tower of Babble’ segment HERE.

The Phuket News recently spoke with a local immigration officer who says foreigners currently in Thailand will not be able transfer over to the new long stay tourist visa. The deputy chief of the Phuket Immigration told Phuket News that foreigners who cannot return back home must get a letter from their country’s embassy requesting an extra30 day extension (some immigration officials at other offices around the country may provide different advice).

The new long-stay visa, called a Special Tourist Visa, is expected to help boost Thailand’s tourism dependant economy. Many restaurants, hotels, tour companies and attractions that rely on foreign tourists say they can’t make a profit again until international tourists are let back in the country, without restrictions or 14 day quarantines.

Bangkok will be the first and primary destination since the city already has a variety of state quarantine facilities that has been housing mostly Thai repatriates over the past 3 months. Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says now is the time to start promoting tourist packages.

“Tour operators can start promoting long-stay packages via the Special Tourist Visa to potential customers now, while tourists can contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s overseas office for more information about travel plans using the services of tour operators or Thailand Longstay Company.”

The Special Tourist Visa is good for 90 days. It can be renewed twice, adding up to nearly 9 months. Those who want to enter on the new visa must also go through a 14 day quarantine at a state approved facility upon arrival.

The tourists must also provide necessary documents like their itinerary, proof of payment for state quarantine, accommodation and flight bookings, travel and health insurance, and a certificate confirming they are Covid-19 free. The Foreign Ministry will then issue a “certificate of eligibility” allowing the tourists to travel to Thailand. More details HERE.

“If the visa process can be completed in time, tourists can visit the country by October 1 via chartered flight or private jet.”

The scheme will start with 3 flights each with 100 tourists per week, adding up to 1,200 tourists per month, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Phiphat says many tourists are interests and the flights could end up fully booked for the first month.

“If operations in the first month run smoothly without triggering another outbreak, we aim to increase carrying capacity in the next phase.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Phuket News

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Luigi

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    my jet is already on the runway ready to go. But do you really think that foreigners are chickens for plucking?

    • Avatar

      Peter T

      Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 7:51 pm

      I am with you on that, maybe you have a spare seat 55?
      But the Thai (UK) embassy has had no information as of 21/9 on the STV from the Thai government.
      I just wanna go home.

  2. Avatar

    Peter

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    People who flies on charter tickets do not stay more than two to three weeks.
    The charter tourists will not come if quarantined.
    So why force long stayer to go on charter flights?
    I never see anything about Non-Immigrant Visa category “O” (Retired) Is it not possible to use that visa anymore?

  3. Avatar

    Thomas Easton

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    I was hoping to get to Thailand at the start of December for 5-6 weeks BUT if this is the way the Thai junta want to play it NO CHANCE!! not a lot of people can afford to travel for a minimum of 90 days including 2 weeks in a government over priced ASQ hotel before hand hahahaha

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    How many businesses can 1,200 tourist support? Bet not many. Personally I would consider it if not for the fact I can’t get more than 3 weeks off of work at a time. The extra cost isn’t a huge issue and I would be willing to quarantine for 14 days if I knew I was getting 11 weeks of freedom in return. Of course the little problem of no way Americans will be on the approved counties list anytime soon so it doesn’t really matter.

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Friday, September 18, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      They should consider American Passport Holders who have not been Stateside since the outbreak.

  5. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Turkey, most of Europe, Mexico, Maldives, Dominican Republic… open to tourists without all that BS! Let’s buy popcorn and watch Thailand key industry (tourism) going bust while banks tank and 7-10 million people loose their rice bowl on the table. This is not a plan…

  6. Avatar

    Luigi

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    I’m curious how much a plane ticket will cost. airplane that normally carries 350 people should travel with only 100 people. what a great brain who thinks this.

  7. Avatar

    Cape Marc

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    I love it ! I’m sitting in ASQ in BKK as I write here. Another 12 days to go here. I’m sure tourists arriving in private jets will love the non-alcohol policy imposed under ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine). Not that drinking is a must but it makes the 15 nights locked up in a 5 star hotel slightly more bearable but high spending tourists are certainly willing to stop drinking for 14 days. What a joke !

  8. Avatar

    I just want to see my GF

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    a charter flight? how does one know what flight to get and how to book it? Why cant we just book a flight that is already running? coming from the US its going to be just that much MORE to have to book random flights let alone most country will only let you transit so how can a person to go out to the ticket counter to check in the for charter flight… Why cant we just make it easy to get there WHY the charter flight…

  9. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    A message to Thai businesses

    Guys, don’t spend money preparing for us. We are not coming. Keep the money you have for food. We will return, but not until those in power remember that we are customers and the customer is king for any business or countries GDP.

  10. Avatar

    Niklas

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Who is making itinerary for 90 days or even 270 days and who is booking accommodations for such a period in advance???
    Zero flexibility in case things change. Absolutely not practical for most people.

  11. Avatar

    Gary

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    What super rich person, who can afford a private jet, will fly in to be met by an army of staff in full PPE gear and have a stick shoved up their nose or throat and then shipped off to detention for 14 days?

  12. Avatar

    Andrzej

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    “Travellers from Thailand can enter United Kingdom without quarantine”.
    Normal Travellers. No STV, no private jets, no min. 90 days, no quarantine, no pre-booking hotels, no stupidity. That’s the difference between Thailand and Europe.

  13. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Overplaying their hand.

  14. Avatar

    Jason

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    I think the only way the authorities will come to understand how this will not work….is when it doesn’t work…. yes….it’s that simple…..sad but simple

  15. Avatar

    Peter

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    I have been stuck here in the UK for 217 days now and getting more and more anxious to return home. I still have a Retirement visa and a valid re-entry permit till early in January but I am unable to return as yet because my partner and I are not married. Unfortunately my partner lost our baby she was carrying so being the father of a Thai child is also not an option. I still have 800000 Baht sitting in the Thai Bank and have a Villa in Hua Hin. My partner and I live in Sa Kaeo. The 14 day quarantine would not bother me as I have been virtually isolated here in a hotel, not risking going out other than for necessities.
    So please let us know as soon as you can when I can return to my family and take my life off hold.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 8:20 am

      Your story doesn’t add up… You’re paying for a hotel for over 217 days in the UK?
      Most hotels in the UK are over £50/day, with food and laundry as extras, and don’t usually let people stay that long, because it becomes a tax and insurance issue. Are you really spending £10,000-£20,000 on hotels and living costs in the UK out of your taxable pension?
      Sounds like quite a large pension.

      Why do people whine about not getting the benefits of being married when they choose not to get married? It also seems odd to have £20,000 in a Thai account, and to claim to own property in a country that you can’t own property in, but you don’t live in it, you claim to live in Sakaeo, a poor rural county with nothing much in it. It suggests you had a Thai wife already, and that Thai ex-wife probably legally own the villa in Hua Hin and live in it.
      Thailand is only a home for Thai citizens, I keep hearing farang talking as though they own a house in Thailand or that Thailand is their home, but those things are not really possible unless they become Thai citizens.

      Pensioners fathering children with girlfriends seems a bit selfish too, a child born out of wedlock might not have access to citizenship, and their father might struggle to have a healthy relationship with them even if they live long enough to help them reach adulthood, and how to afford schooling? You force them to go to Thai school instead of school in England, just so you can retire abroad? Doesn’t seem very fair. We can only assume you wouldn’t father a child for visa purposes.

      • Avatar

        Peter T

        Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 8:05 pm

        Preesy, shame you cannot know all the facts and want to sit in judgement. Try to recognise the fact that people and families worldwide are separated by this situation. That was the reason for my post, not to invite moral judgement. Oh do the tax laws apply if I own the hotel?

  16. Avatar

    Tuna

    Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 2:09 am

    This program is too funny. A country that gets 4 million tourists a month in high season and 2 million tourists in low season will now be getting 1,200 tourists a month if they are willing to jump through ridiculous hoops. Is this really any kind of solution to Thailand’s tourism woes. Maybe for the politically connected hotel owners that will house quarantined tourists at a special tripple rate, but even for them I doubt it. Everyone needs to be patient and wait for reality to set in for the Thai Government. A big nothing of a solution by those making decisions.

  17. Avatar

    lou

    Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    I am resort owner, I just prepare an hanging rope to follow all those stupidities, thanks Amazing to Thailand, I believed and loved it I put whole my futur and money into it, left with nothing and especially no hopes

  18. Avatar

    Carlo Costantini

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 11:45 am

    I am amazed that there are so many negative comments. This plan makes total sense to me. Plus, from a traveler’s perspective, the fact that the 90 days can be extend twice makes me very excited -well worth the 14-day quarantine. Anyway, it seems the negative commenters are ‘holiday-people’ rather than ‘travelers’. I hear you! But holidays will have to wait until the vaccine is being distributed and the Americans won’t let that happen until ‘their’ PharmaCorp. vaccines are ready. Which reminds me, the people who will accept this Visa are probably people like me:
    1. I didn’t want to leave Thailand -I got kicked out of Thailand because of COVID. So, I was forced to go back….’home’ which is New York.
    2. Living in NYC is a living hell (@50 shootings/night, creepy vibe, political weirdos everywhere, etc, etc).
    3. The food is disgusting here (I actually have gained almost 20lbs). And it so expensive.
    4. Urban Westerners are full of hypocrisy and New York City is their world capital. I can’t even take my friends seriously, but SE Asian people are ‘real’…which soothes me.
    5. So, I feel trapped. THE ONLY ‘THING’ that keeps me going is that I know one day, I will be back in a nice little villa in Southern Thailand: seeing my friends again, meeting new ones, swimming/biking every day, listening to live music, awesome meals, etc. Sound familiar?
    So, my point is that anyone who is like me will jump at this chance & I can assure all that there are way more of ‘us’ than the program’s capacity, way-WAY more.

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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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