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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Avatar

    patty

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    yea right…Here we go again. Another lie. All talk. Will believe it when I see it

  2. Avatar

    Paul D McCarty

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    No surprise that this group came from China. Anything for Big Brother, whose PM for life looks like Winnie the Pooh.

  3. Avatar

    lootarzoon

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Who care 150 secluded fake tourists but real biz.. We need 1.5 Million

  4. Avatar

    Fabian

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I’m completely lost on this matter.

    Now the same group suddenly comes. They must have been eagerly waiting with their agendas empty to get the appointment to come to Thailand. Just so they can spend here one month of which half the time they will spend in quarantine??? Really??? Really??? I mean.. really???

    • Avatar

      Don R

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      I think it’s possible because Chinese people are still relatively new to the whole tourist game. They don’t understand the value proposition and will probably be satisfied with the conspicuous consumption of the whole affair.

      • Avatar

        Fabian

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:33 pm

        You are right about that if you are talking about the Chinese in big groups. But then it seems to me they must have had a VERY cheap offer, or even got paid to go here lol.

        There are also plenty of independent Chinese travelers and hey would never fall for this.

        • Avatar

          Preesy Chepuce

          Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 4:06 am

          I don’t know anybody who believes these are tourists. CCP members, perhaps, travelling on very unique and specific terms and conditions for some purpose that may be quite different from what is reported.

  5. Avatar

    Dennis Olausson

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Haha that is what the government said last month too, and wat does it matter if 150 persons come, they wont help the local community at all.

  6. Avatar

    Maag

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    They are….until they will not . Pathetic !

  7. Avatar

    Tony Grace

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Dose the BKPost have any reporter on the ground or are they just relieing on some little chatter sent from government departments so that they will
    Print it and make it look like they are capable of doing something that might justify there position, wake up and smell the coffee get reporters on the ground and print facts not someones else’s fiction

  8. Avatar

    James Scott

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Hahahaha, the Tourism and Sports Minister wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him in the ass 🙂

  9. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    At the bars on Bangla Rd, Beach Rd. and Soi 4, I always sit closest to the street so I can people watch and when the bus of tourists pass, I always smile and tip my beer to’em; they return the smile with a nod.

  10. Avatar

    Peewee

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    My friend has been to embassy in Shanghai every day trying to get a flight back. There are no STVs on these flights. She was told all non-B. Seems they are going to SHA also to pick up some very expensive tickets to make up for running loss on these flights

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 1:53 am

      Reportedly the STVs are on a charter flight, so there’d be no other seats available on their flight and they wouldn’t be on any other flight.

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  12. Avatar

    TS

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Calling B.S.-Anyone who shows for this fake shite show is getting paid to save junta face. No real tourist would go through this at their own trouble or expense.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 4:26 pm

      It does smell a bit. Why would anyone pay that much and go through 14 days quarantine just for a fortnight’s holiday?

      … and given that they’re only here on holiday for a fortnight, it’s a pity the same effort wasn’t put into visas for the 120,000 genuine tourists already here who have been putting and will continue to put rather more into the Thai economy for rather longer.

      Sometimes those making the decisions seem unable to see the wood for the trees …

  13. Avatar

    Ray W.

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Oh great, so I guess the economy will be all fix then! 150’ish tourist puts us close to the 39.7 million we had in 2019, right?! I better start hiring all my people back before they get better offers with this surge… that’s how math works now.

  14. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    … and if it’s a charter flight, why would they not fly direct to Phuket rather than go through Suvarnabhumi?

    … it’s all just a bit weird.

  15. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Who in their right mind takes a 30 day vacation with 14 of them in quarantine? This thing smells like a PR set up. I’m putting money on it being a free or almost free trip for the Chinese tourists set up by Thailand. Make no mistake this is a completely guided zero dollar tourism trip. The powers that be are desperate to make the STV look like it works after all that egg on the face from the non-existing Phuket group.Now they want everyone to think all is good while the high season slips away. Nero fiddling comes to mind.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 2:00 am

      … what a tangled web we weave …

  16. Avatar

    Thomas

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    I wonder how many nails they try to put in to the coffin of Thai tourism. There seems to be no end to it, everybody has a go.

  17. Avatar

    Sceptic

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    A charter flight brings them to Thailand. But how do they get back home ? There is never any mention of that. There are no international flights operating. So how do they leave after their holiday ?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 1:56 am

      On another charter flight?

      • Avatar

        Skeptic

        Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 4:12 am

        If it’s another charter flight then one would have to wait for that. How long ? A month ? A couple of months ? Six months ? During which time you are marooned. It’s not my idea of a holiday.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 1:58 am

      … but there clearly are a limited number of international flights operating.

  18. Avatar

    West Tiger

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    The STV clearly states that you have to have health insurance, quarantine in a hotel for 14 days and spend at least 90 days here and Covid free when you get on the plane and get tested here
    Will the Chinese tourists being doing this?

  19. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 2:06 am

    The ridiculous thing is that not only are there 120,000 genuine tourists already here who want to stay here as tourists, spending money, but there are also at least a few long term residents on retirement extensions and Elite cards who want to return and who’d even be happy to pay for and put up with 14 days quarantine but they can’t.

    No comment’s necessary.

  20. Avatar

    Nipral

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Who is moronic enough to spend even 1 day in quarantine in a hotel selected by this hopeless corrupt government ? They’d need a sanity rather than covid test !

  21. Avatar

    willem Hagting

    Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Only coming for 30 days? what a ridiculous result for a longstay (STV) program. I guess its just another mindfuck for trying to show some kind of succes and not have to totally lose face.

    Get real and open Thailand for those who have already a longstay visa. NON O with yearly extension.

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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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: Wednesday’s new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in “serious condition”

Tim Newton

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Covid UPDATE: Wednesday’s new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in “serious condition” | Thaiger

Thailand’s CCSA has announced 1,335 new infections today, after a slight dip in the 10 day surge yesterday. 1,326 of those new infections are local, not imported, and mostly from Bangkok. Today’s tally takes the national total to 35,910 since January 2020 when the first case outside China was detected in Thailand on January 13.

The new infections have mostly emerged in Bangkok with 351 cases. Surrounding provinces report an additional 115 infections today. In other provinces, 877 people.

It’s also been reported today that 36 people are currently in a serious condition and 9 people are on ventilators. Here’s the number of cases reported each day since the start of April…

April 1 – 26 infections

April 2 – 58 infections

April 3 – 84 infections

April 4 – 96 infections

April 5 – 194 infections

April 6 – 250 infections

April 7 – 334 infections

April 8 – 405 infections

April 9 – 559 infections

April 10 – 789 infections

April 11 – 967 infections

April 12 – 985 infections

April 13 – 965 infections

April 14 – 1,335 infections

Meanwhile, Prachuap Khiri Khan officials have ordered the closure of “high risk venues” such as pubs, bars, water parks, children’s playgrounds, gyms, cinemas, game shops. The Governor says restaurants can open “but no alcohol can be served”. This includes the seaside town of Hua Hin.

In Krabi there is now a total of 11 infections, 6 new ones yesterday.

In Chon Buri, which includes Pattaya, there were 99 new confirmed infections of Covid today … a similar number to the past few days.

Total number of infections being treated in provinces…

• Bangkok: 1,689
• Chiang Mai: 880
• Chonburi: 594
• Samut Prakan: 416
• Narathiwat: 304
• Prachuap Khiri Khan: 265
• Samut Sakhon: 166
• Pathum Thani: 124
• Sa Kaeo 105
Covid UPDATE: Wednesday's new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok police tracking down owners of Thong Lor clubs where virus resurfaced

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok police tracking down owners of Thong Lor clubs where virus resurfaced | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Krystal Club

Police in Bangkok are on the hunt for the owners of 2 nightclubs considered ground zero for a third wave of Covid-19 currently spreading around the country. The Krystal Club and Emerald Thonglor 13, in the capital’s fashionable Thonglor district, are currently closed, with the managers of both sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment. However, officials are now attempting to track down the real owners of both establishments.

Nation Thailand reports that the authorities are examining ownership and shareholding documentation related to the 2 venues, after police chief Piya Tawichai confirmed a cluster of Covid-19 infections is believed to have spread from the clubs. The managers of both venues have been charged with violating the emergency decree and disease prevention regulations, with the Bangkok Municipal Court sentencing them to 2 months’ imprisonment on April 9.

The head of Metropolitan Police Division 5, Sophon Saraphat, has also transferred 2 Thonglor police officers, including the superintendent of Thonglor police station, while an investigation into the Covid-19 cluster continues.

Sophon says authorities are also examining the operating licences of both clubs, which have been closed for 30 days, while officials determine if they should be shut down for a period of 5 years.

3 nightlife venues in Phuket, thought to be behind a resurgence of Covid-19 in the southern province have been closed as part of a wider temporary shutdown of nightlife on the island. It is not yet known if the owners will face prosecution.

The Illuzion and Shelter nightclubs in Patong, along with the Café del Mar beach club in Kamala each held mass parties during the weekend of April 2- 4, with invited guests travelling from as far as Bangkok. Media reports put attendance at each party at over 3,000.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

UPDATE: The field hospital in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district, west of the Chao Phraya river, had its first 10 Covid patients today. The director of the medical services office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says that the 10 patients into the makeshift hospital, located at the Chalerm Phra Kiat Stadium, will enable assessment of the performance by the medical team, before more patients arrive – Thai PBS World

ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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