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Head of economic recovery panel warns of collapse if borders not re-opened now

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Jeshoots.com on Unsplash

A businessman heading up an economic recovery panel is warning the government that unless Thailand’s borders are re-opened for the last quarter of the year, the country is headed for total economic collapse. The Bangkok Post reports that Pailin Chuchottaworn says the gradual easing of Covid restrictions in recent months is not enough, insisting the country must re-open to international tourists. Pailin says that, while Thailand has been successful at controlling and eventually suppressing the Covid-19 virus, it has been at great economic cost.

He is dismissive of the new Special Tourist Visa scheme, saying it does not go far enough, and he has also criticised the hoops foreigners must jump through to avail of the visa. He says that, despite the introduction of the STV, Thailand remains closed to most, warning that unless the country opens up now for what would normally be considered high season, the STV scheme may end up being dropped altogether. He points out that airlines need to plan their schedules in advance and, unless the government starts preparing for an immediate high-season re-opening, airlines will not have enough time to prepare flight schedules. He adds that re-opening once high season is over will be too late.

“Currently, tourism is an important priority. If the country does not re-open, it will be hard for GDP to grow because the country’s economy depends mainly on the tourism industry and exports.”

Meanwhile, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has previously stated that 1,200 long-stay tourists are expected to arrive in the Kingdom this month. The first groups were expected to arrive from China this Thursday, but there are reports of that being pushed back to later this month due to some additional ironing out of the STV scheme.

Phiphat says that, should all go well during the first 30 days of the scheme being in operation, the government will consider reducing the 14-day mandatory quarantine period to 7 days, although some medical experts continue to warn against this.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Avatar

    patty

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Finally, someone with some common sense

  2. Avatar

    Sam C

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 10:09 am

    I’m an Aussie with a Retirement visa, there’s many here same as me wanting to return but so far their is no invitation? Why? it’s crazy as we are one of the safest countries re Covid. They put up too many obstacles with high priced ASQ hotels and high price airfares and Medical Insurance etc. Just give me a bracelet and test me, 1 2 3 times over 14 days I dont mind, even let me self quarantine at my partners home for 14 days.
    1/ Open up to safe countries Non O or OA visa holders
    2/ Make it more affordable and less restrictive
    We all have money to spend and we want to help the Thai economy so why hold us back?

    • Avatar

      murika

      Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:08 pm

      it’s not only about you, how can they check if you not having contact to population if you quarantine at your partner home, anyone can enter that home including your partner and go out spreading the covid, if Thailand open now, 5 % of it’s population may die on the long run, i think thai have just to accept that tourism is dead and live without it until covid have a treatment or a vaccine, whatever the economic cost, life is more important than money…

      • Avatar

        Ray W.

        Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:25 pm

        We’ve already lost more lives to economic ruin, depression, crime, and medical percedures people fail to have out of covid fear then we ever would lost from the actual virus. Enough is enough; protect the elderly and the those with serious pre-existing conditions, for the rest of us need to get the boarders open, manage the risk, and get the economy and our future moving again.

        • Avatar

          murika

          Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm

          it’s just not true, economic crisis due to covid didn’t kill 1 millions plus humans, and the death toll of covid is going to be much more, we can see now that 3% average in the world are dying from it, 4% in USA, 5.2% in France where medical facilities get saturated during the first wave, so it’s obvious that the faster the virus spread the more people are dying, Thailand where old people are living with the young one could have a terrible death toll, and medical facilities are far less efficient than in Europe or USA. So with border closed and a slow covid spread we can be close to 1 % death, and with a trump logic of no restriction, we get close to 5%, the difference at the scale of the world is 280 millions lives, i think your holidays can wait…

          • Avatar

            Don R

            Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 1:53 pm

            “economic crisis due to covid didn’t kill 1 millions plus humans”

            Depends on your definition of “kill”. Does “kill” means an 80 year old with stage IV cancer tests positive for Covid? Or does “kill” mean that many decades down from now the current generation of young people have their life expectancy reduced to their 60s, thus shortened billions of lives?

            “the death toll of covid is going to be much more, we can see now that 3% average in the world are dying from it, 4% in USA”

            Not even close! US CDC puts the infection fatality rate (IFR) at 0.3%. If we’re to believe WHO estimates for total infected, then IFR is 0.13%. You’re citing CASE fatality rate (CFR), which is just a measure of people who survive after showing up at the hospital with severe symptoms.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:26 am

          “We’ve already lost more lives to economic ruin, depression, crime, and medical percedures people fail to have out of covid fear then we ever would lost from the actual virus.”

          Really? Thailand has? The UK has a similar sized population and they’ve had 50,000 deaths from Covid vs Thailand’s 59.

          Where do you get your figure from that Thailand’s lost 50,000 lives due to “depression, crime, etc”?

          “protect the elderly and the those with serious pre-existing conditions,”

          … and how do propose doing that, exactly, in Thailand?

          How?

          This isn’t the UK where “the elderly and those with serious pre-existing conditions” are separated, out of sight and out of mind, in care homes. Many / most Thais still live in multi-generational extended families; if adult children are away working in factories or construction, their children are often looked after by grand-parents. Those with “serious pre-existing conditions” are cared for by their families, at home, not by the state.

          Just how, exactly, are you going to “protect” them in Thailand?

          Or are they all expendable, just so you can get YOUR life back to normal?

      • Avatar

        chris

        Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2:18 pm

        @murika, look at countries woth pocerty, econamic collapse will ve staggering compare to virus threat, Thailand will become a dangerous country with crime ,sucide,then tourism lost forever. Closing door is not solution, howlong will you close, vaccine is not guarentee, you can’t close doors too long, have to get up carry the cross

    • Avatar

      Marcus D

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Australia is currently having an outbreak twice as deadly as the first wave. Thailand has had no fatalities since June because they have tight borders. Why would the Thai government risk even greater destruction to their economy and the health of their citizens by allowing high risk Australians into Thailand? I agree that they should remove these obstacles you mention in 4 months time if the community risk is eliminated for a decent period within Australia.

  3. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 10:34 am

    “ the country’s economy depends mainly on the tourism industry and exports.”- finally someone in the know publicly stating what everyone else already knew. If the first group isn’t coming until next week or the week after, and Thailand requires a 30 day evaluation after a month worth of tourists arrive, the high season will be lost. The only way to save it is to immediate reduce the quarantine to 7 days, cut out the charter flight requirement, reduce the insurance requirement (and open it up to outside companies) and vastly increase the numbers and counties. The quarantine really needs to be eliminated all together. That said, it’s almost too late to save anyway, the airlines and tourists need a month to set plans and schedule. Otherwise they will have already bought tickets to somewhere else.

  4. Avatar

    Ryan Lih

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 11:33 am

    To the new finance minister of Thailand, the Thai baht is too strong and making it unfavorable for tourists much to say for your exports. In the economic sense, USD has weakened and so the Thai baht should adjust it around 30% to gain a competitive edge to attract tourist as a first step. The ASQ & quarantine days & reopening the economy are all the 2nd step that needs to be looked at TODAY ASAP. Too much mucking around and too much time wasted. Judging by all other factors, it would be too late to woo back international tourist already. The only way to do is to keep & extend the foreigners already in Thailand because they are your prized possession. Then woo back neighboring nations with managed cases by meeting with each of them to work together for faster reopening eg. Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore as 1st tier. Myanmar is on hold first. 2nd tier should be China, S. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and New Zealand (PM Jacinda just announced they’ve beat the 2nd wave). Start the ball rolling NOW. Frankly speaking, most countries’ stimulus packages didn’t really reach the most needed. Can the govt afford another set of 3 months Baht 5000 for its citizens? The debt level will be dangerously high for the country but save the people first by opening up completely. Get more frontline medical personnel at the entry points to monitor. What more do you need for the ideas to pour in before you remove your ego & self-serving mentality?

    • Avatar

      murika

      Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      open now and let 5% of thai population die, like we can see in usa, so YOU can come back, and also reduce thai bath by 30% so YOU can get more for your money, whatever the consequence on import and foreign reserve, it’s not YOUR problem, all YOU want is YOUR holyday, maybe it’s time for thailand to get rid of selfish people like YOU for good, they can survive an economic crisis, to save 5 % of their population, mass tourism has helped developing the country but has bring so many negative things, price of land is so high in some places that local people are forced to rent their home and will never be able to buy land in their hometown, police is so corrupt in mass tourism places that they can act like a mafia, drugs, prostitution, gambling, all is aggravated by mass tourism, but all of this doesn’t matter for you as long as you can enjoy

      • Avatar

        Ray W.

        Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:35 pm

        Fact: The USA with a population around 330 million has had over 7 million cases and to date only 210 thousand deaths. That is only .0006% of thier population, no where near 5%, that would be 16.5 million people. Stop fear mongering, the people are suffering and our future is being destroyed. Pailin is right, open your eyes. This should have been said in June!

        • Avatar

          murika

          Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2:48 pm

          you have to count how many people die over how many catch the covid, the virus is still spreading right now, unless a vaccine is found witch never happened yet for that type of virus, everybody will catch it at a point, so yes probably kill 3% of the world, when i say 5% of thai i base my prediction on French numbers who get 5% death rate because of the saturation of the medical facilities, witch expert have predicted in the case of a first wave in Thailand due to bad medical system and the fact that old and young are living together in the same house

      • Avatar

        Somchai

        Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm

        I completely agree Murika. Dear farangs, money is more important to you than life. Fortunately, everything is different in Thailand. Thailand defeated coronavirus. Take care of your problems and your economic. Thailand is doing well. Thailand will develop without tourism. Thais, will never risk their parents’ lives for money. 98% of Thais are against opening borders and support our beloved Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

      • Avatar

        Ryan Lih

        Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 6:10 pm

        Thank you for your reply. Have you contributed any constructive ideas? I have, however absurd it may seem in your opinion. All YOU write is “yapping” away negatively. Offer some workable solutions? Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’ve penned mine. There’s not right or wrong. Just letting them airheads of ministers know. That’s all. Being negative & sarcastic in your comments are futile and not contributing but just complaining. Police corruption is in every country even NYPD Blue. How should the Thai govt solve this issue of police corruption? Offer some idea for this issue instead of “Yapping” away.

      • Avatar

        Rob

        Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 10:20 pm

        You’re an idiot, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Complete and utter nonsense.
        Where I live, a country with a population of 5.5 million, borders have remained open throughout. There have been 2532 deaths, I’ll do the math for you 0.04%, almost exclusively people with underlying health conditions. 90% of those deaths were people over 60. Under the age of 40, 11 deaths.
        People in Thailand are going to die (they already are) and it won’t be because of covid 19.
        Protect the people with underlying health conditions and reopen Thailand’s economy.

    • Avatar

      Peter

      Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      It’s obviously escaped your understanding of economics (not that you had much of an understanding) the Thai baht is a FLOATING currency, much like most Western currencies are. The exchange rate is not under control of their government, it’s determined by the worlds money markets. A government can influence it marginally by controlling their interest rates, increase the interest rate the currency goes up, decrease it and the value falls. Interest rates worldwide are already extremely low, to help generate growth, do you want to bankrupt them? 5000 baht handout for people without income is peanuts. Thailand has one of the worlds largest foreign currency reserves (excluding gold deposits) time they put their hands in their pocket.

      • Avatar

        Marcus D

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:48 pm

        Australia is currently having an outbreak twice as deadly as the first wave. Thailand has had no fatalities since June because they have tight borders. Why would the Thai government risk even greater destruction to their economy and the health of their citizens by allowing high risk Australians into Thailand? I agree that they should remove these obstacles you mention in 4 months time if the community risk is eliminated for a decent period within Australia.

  5. Avatar

    Jacob James

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 11:42 am

    The COVID numbers will skyrocket if the just open the borders, but maybe that’s okay COVID will still be a small number compared to the traffic deaths.

    Let’s say they open the borders, to quarantine and special visa stuff, will tourists come? I mean tourist that actually spend money in Thailand not Chinese group tourists that just visit Chinese own establishments.

  6. Avatar

    Gary

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Many in this and other news outlets argue that Thailand should get out of the mass tourism business, I believe that may have to happen but over an extended period, not 6 months, this current blunt end trauma must cease now. People can then take stock with income again, hopefully learn from the experience and move at the right juncture into other lines of work.

  7. Avatar

    Ken

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    One thing that everyone is not thinking of is that even if Thailand opens up their border with no quarantine, people will still need to do 14 days quarantine when they return home. lots of people don’t have the allotted time to do 14 days holiday in Thailand, then 14 days quarantine back in there own country, also their are lots of people out of work, or have had cuts to pay that would normally come to Thailand, they don’t have the disposable funds like they did before. Let alone the fact that people are to scared to travel to far from home with worries for boarders closing again. Lots of airlines are still grounded or running very limited flights they will also need to make sure they will cover there cost to be airborne again, or it is not viable. The realistic side is tourist will not come flooding back. Thailand does not have the greatest reputation with all the scams, and ripping off of tourist, higher price for tourist, at times 400%. Why would they come back??

  8. Avatar

    RR

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    That Thailand has been successful to tackle the covid cases is disputable, as they do not do enough tests. They can fool the WHO, not the rational people.

  9. Avatar

    Thomas

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    I wonder if this guy still got a job by week end? Someone who speaks the truth, makes sense, doesn’t speak in riddles and generally knows what he talks about. Dangerous skills in Thai Politics.

  10. Avatar

    Crispy

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    Not just economic collapse but overthrow of the regime.
    Is it shard to adapt to reality? It’s almost lying understood now. Let in from green list countries, certificate send ahead. And prep the public to new normal behaviour. Make sure the medical infrastructure is there, including importantly track and trace, to collect and treat cases as they arise.
    Dont worry too much about high value insurance or high value hotels. We are talking tens of millions of visitors lost if try to extract from a few rich guys. And the hotel and insurance big boys won’t appreciate that.

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:09 am

    You can return any time you want – why do you need an “invitation”?

    If you have “money to spend”, then all you need to do is spend it on a flight, 14 days quarantine, and medical insurance … but obviously you don’t, and you want a cheap flight, no quarantine, and no medical insurance.

    Why should Thais risk their lives just so you can save some money?

    The tourism industry is around 10% of GDP (estimates vary between 8 to 20 %, the latter including the ‘spin-offs’). Those tearing their shirts about the drop in GDP always say “the country’s economy depends mainly on the tourism industry and exports”, as here, or “tourism and foreign investment”, but the two aren’t linked or even inter-dependent.

    Yes, of course those suffering from the loss of the tourist trade need support, and clearly you’re missing Thailand and your partner even if you’re not willing to put your hand in your pocket, but why should it cost other people their lives?

    • Avatar

      Khaja Sarfaraj Mansur

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      Mr. John

      Why the head of the economy recovery panel is saying this then? If I am not wrong he is also a Government body.

      Please don’t tell me now that you know better than the head of economy recovery panel

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, October 9, 2020 at 4:06 pm

        “Why the head of the economy recovery panel is saying this then?”

        Because it’s his job to spell out what’s needed for an economic recovery!

        I don’t disagree with him over that at all, or suggest that I “know better”. What it’s not his job to do, though, or mine, is to balance the need for economic recovery against the human cost in deaths from Covid-19.

  12. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 8:40 am

    “Otherwise they will have already bought tickets to somewhere else.”

    Where? Where-else?

    People here keep saying this as if Thailand is the only country with these border restrictions, when the reality is that the majority of other countries have similar policies.

    Thailand isn’t the exception, by restricting and quarantining arrivals, it’s the norm, and within ASEAN its restrictions are less than others such as Vietnam or Cambodia.

  13. Avatar

    Don R

    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    I see a massive opportunity for Myanmar, Laos, or Cambodia to become the new tourist hub of SE Asia. These relatively poor countries could double or triple their GDP per capita in a decade if they jump on this opportunity.

    Open the borders, implement visa exempt rules, every hotel and restaurant in the country will be packed in a week.

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