Billionaire asks PM Prayut to scrap Thailand Pass and Test & Go

An American-born Thai billionaire has written another open letter to Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha calling for an ease in entry restrictions to help the country’s tourism industry recover. William ‘Bill’ Heinecke, founder of the huge Minor Group, says scrapping Thailand Pass and Test & Go will attract international tourists back into the kingdom.

The letter, written yesterday, presents quite the turnaround from a letter Mr. Heinecke wrote to PM Prayut back in March 2020 where he called for a full lockdown of the country to prevent the spread of Covid-19 cases.

Mr. Heinecke is the owner of Minor International which owns hotels in Thailand such as AVANI, NH Collection, Marriott, Four Seasons and Radisson Blu. The company also owns food companies in Thailand such as The Pizza Company, The Coffee Club, Swensen’s, Sizzler, Dairy Queen, Burger King and many more.

This time, Mr. Heinecke wrote to PM Prayut asking him to ease entry restrictions into Thailand to boost the country’s wounded tourism industry. The businessman stated that foreign arrivals into Don Mueang Airport in April this year totalled at only 11,623 per day which is much lower than the 50,000 people per day that arrived at the airport during April last year.

Mr. Heinecke pointed out that even though Thailand has scrapped the pre-travel PCR test, there are still plenty of restrictions putting tourists off from returning to the kingdom.

He advised PM Prayut to completely cancel Thailand Pass, regulations relating to health insurance and all on-arrival Covid-19 testing. He said vaccination history or a medical certificate should be enough to gain entry into Thailand.

The mild characteristics of the Omicron variant, which is now the predominant Covid strain around the world, may be the reason for the billionaires’ change of heart…

“I believe that Thailand should realise that the number of Omicron patients who were found locally was higher than foreign arrivals.”

“Meanwhile, I believe in Thai citizens that they understand Omicron’s characteristics and are ready to live in line with the new normal era.”

Cooperation between government and private sectors is necessary to help the tourism industry recover and to stimulate the economy, Heinecke added. He said that he and other entrepreneurs are ready to work with the government to help revive tourism, boost confidence among tourists and implement guidelines for tourists’ safety.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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