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



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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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