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Bangkok authorities and hotels prepare for returning travellers



PHOTO: Bangkok readies for travellers to return. (via mrsiraphol freepik)

Bangkok authorities and hotels are gearing up to welcome back international tourists on November 1, setting up swab hubs and preparing for an influx of travellers. The Tourism Authority of Thailand said they will set up testing stations outside the airport and are strategising to avoid congestion and bottlenecking as international travellers arrive into Thailand.

The plan is instead to keep the flow through the airport smooth before moving travellers to their SHA Plus hotels in approved limousines and having swab hubs set up at these hotels or at partnering hospitals nearby, allowing incoming tourists to get out of the busy airport quickly before being tested in a more comfortable situation.

For smaller hotels that are ill-equipped to provide Covid-19 testing to travellers on-site, the Thai Hotels Association plan on creating shared swab hubs at places like alternative quarantine facilities or hospitals that many smaller accommodation businesses would share.

After being tested at one of these swab hubs, incoming international travellers would be briefly quarantined at their hotel for the first night while waiting for the results of their Covid-19 test.

Government officials and accommodation properties are scrambling to be ready for the reopening in 12 days. Over 300 hotels are awaiting their approval to the SHA Plus programme allowing them to welcome incoming travellers. They are expected to receive approval by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, a trial run will take place on October 25 at Suvarnabhumi Airport with the Tourism Authority of Thailand doing a walkthrough of the standard operating procedure for international arrivals.

The TAT has been marketing to attract travellers, focusing on long stay travellers, businessmen and investors, and the wellness market. The deputy governor of the TAT said there is significant demand for travel to Thailand and reopening Bangkok is the hub to welcome those travellers into the country.

Now 60-70% of Bangkok hotels are reopening, up from 50% in recent months, with reports of increases to 20% occupancy and up to 30% in November. Countries that do not require quarantine upon returning home are seeing increased bookings to Thailand.

Also 250 million baht is predicted to be generated from now until the end of the year from meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions events.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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