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Thailand beaches may limit visitors until Covid-19 vaccine is available

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand beaches may limit visitors until Covid-19 vaccine is available | Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Merve Selcuk Simsek

Beaches and national parks might not fully open to international tourists until a Covid-19 vaccine is available. Around 120 to 150 tourists departing from China are set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 after a 6 month ban on international tourists. They’ll have to go through a 14 day state quarantine, but after that, they may not be able to enjoy some of the island’s beaches. A report from Bloomberg says it’s “unlikely” beaches and parks will fully open to overseas travellers until a vaccine is out.

Thailand’s borders won’t fully reopen to international tourists until a vaccine is widely available to the public, according to Tourism Council of Thailand president Chairat Trirattanajarasporn. For the time being, only tourists on select charter flights with a 90 day Special Tourist Visa can enter the country.

“It’s good for the country to reopen even if it’s just for trial … Once we’ve tested our reopening plan for a month, we can assess how to go forward and allow more visitors to come in.”

The new Special Tourist Visa is an effort intended to help revive Thailand’s tourism industry which has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Bloomberg, the sector makes but about a fifth of the nation’s economy. Last year, the tourism industry generated 1.9 trillion baht with about 40 million foreign visitors. With travel restrictions in place to control the spread of the coronavirus, Chairat predicts tourism revenue will drop 82.6% to 336.5 billion baht by the end of the year.

“Businesses that rely on foreign tourists, especially in Phuket, Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, will continue to close in the coming months because there would only be a small group of people coming in after the reopening.”

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Andy Finley

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Vaccine for a virus?? Been trying for one for 60 years for influenza, good luck with that…

    • Avatar

      Latecomer

      Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      And HIV~AIDS for 35+

  2. Avatar

    MasterOfDisaster

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    The beaches are empty anyway, pretty sure those 120 Chinese tourist won’t fill them up.

    • Avatar

      Jrray

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 11:12 pm

      Ya U got that right and now special visas and increase of tourist taxes and state quarintine all big money grab from Thai Gouvernement and they expect tourist to come in and pay this shit while the have 150,000 expats they are trying to kick out of the country rather than accomodate these people to stay and spend.
      They have no clue to what their doing. People who own house are being kicked out WTF.

    • Avatar

      Edy F.

      Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 4:16 am

      Welcome to the new world order picture show..

  3. Avatar

    Daniel Allen

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Hang on so after all the testing and ASQ 16 nights and proven to not have Covid you still can’t visit some beaches. A vaccine may never come. Im sorry but people have to accept this virus like any other. I have property in Thailand and if im not able to return soon I may look at selling up and taking my money somewhere I am welcome.

    • Avatar

      Delles

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      Right on. Disgusting and so Löw life the way they treat thosecthst have Supported the Economy For years. SHAME ON THAIILAND For what they arme doing to us

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 2, 2020 at 3:06 am

      “ASQ 16 nights and proven to not have Covid you still can’t visit some beaches.”

      No, that has never been proposed nor has Bloomberg ever said it has been proposed.

      All Bloomberg have said is that the plan is to limit numbers on the beaches, parks, etc, by limiting the numbers allowed into the country. Nothing more.

  4. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Weird and worrying – what does that mean for the 150K foreigners already in the country?
    We’ll need to stay off the beaches as well?

  5. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Weird and worrying news – what does this mean for the 150K foreigners currently in Thailand?
    We’re to stay off the beaches as well once the plan starts?

  6. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Getting better and better… why would tourists go to a country like Thailand where they cannot go to the beach? How do you track tourists (bracelets like convicts?)?
    What does Bloomberg know about Thailand? They do not even have journalists on site!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 11:30 am

      It isn’t what Bloomberg said.

      • The Thaiger & The Nation

        The Thaiger & The Nation

        Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 12:07 pm

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Friday, October 2, 2020 at 12:36 am

          Exactly.

          Bloomberg does NOT say “They’ll have to go through a 14 day state quarantine, but after that, they may not be able to enjoy some of the island’s beaches.”

          What Bloomberg says is that the restriction will be by restricting the number of foreign visitors to Thailand – NOT by allowing them in then not allowing them to visit the beaches.

          The two are completely different.

  7. Avatar

    Sam

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Limiting numbers on beaches ? Dontneedlaws or regs to see that happen !more Thai nonsense

  8. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    You have to be kidding! Nothing says “welcome” quite like inviting someone to an island but not letting them go to the beach. Just when you thought all the rules, requirement and regulations couldn’t get more absurd, they go and limit access to the beach. Oh well, it’s not like it’s going to effect that many tourist anyway.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 2, 2020 at 1:32 am

      As I’ve attempted to explain, there is no such plan and Bloomberg do not say there is.

      If you read the original article by Bloomberg, the restriction on numbers visiting beaches is the result of limiting the number of tourists allowed into the country. There is NO suggestion by Bloomberg that anyone would be allowed in then not allowed to a beach. NONE.

  9. Avatar

    Jrray

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Ya U got that right and now special visas and increase of tourist taxes and state quarintine all big money grab from Thai Gouvernement and they expect tourist to come in and pay this shit while the have 150,000 expats they are trying to kick out of the country rather than accomodate these people to stay and spend.
    They have no clue to what their doing. People who own house are being kicked out WTF.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 2, 2020 at 1:19 am

      No they’re not – totally untrue.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 2, 2020 at 2:57 am

      “People who own house are being kicked out WTF.”

      No they’re not – totally untrue.

  10. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    Yes I would not be surprised.
    Limit access to the beaches. Why not?
    It makes as much sense as all the other stupid bans the peasants in charge under the banner of:
    Virus Virus Virus! have brought in.
    Do they want to save lives. Enforce the traffic laws! 6120 deaths to June the 13th this year.

  11. Avatar

    Nipral

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 1:54 am

    Does anyone care about Thai people starving while their moronic government plays
    monopoly with stupid reopening plans ? The vaccine tale is just the last of a number of
    laughable ideas born from the sick heads of brainless government members.

  12. Avatar

    Maag

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 3:05 am

    Beaches empty…..sound good for sea turtles !

  13. Avatar

    Rudolf Reingruber

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 3:10 am

    good luck for your economy!

  14. Avatar

    Stephen Westrip

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 3:57 am

    It is inside spaces like enclosed markets that need more attention than wide-open spaces of a beach! Social distancing on a beach should be more than enough.

  15. Avatar

    Malcolm R.

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    ROTFL, at most, a vaccine is under 60% effective. What is Thailand going to do about the 40%-plus who have the vaccine and still catch covid?

    Another day, another piece of idiocy in Thailand. Seems to me, at this point, their goal is to completely dissuade tourists from going to Thailand.

    No worries. My wife and I and her brother are going to book flights to both Japan and Taiwan as soon as those companies open up. Their governments are smarter and they offer the same kind of 3-6 month stay for us that Thailand used to offer, until its government descended even further into the Stupid Realm.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 2, 2020 at 2:53 am

      “at most, a vaccine is under 60% effective …” based on what?

      There is no vaccine yet so no-one knows how effective one will be. Some are 100% effective, such as polio, some less so.

      “My wife and I and her brother are going to book flights to both Japan and Taiwan as soon as those companies open up”

      Japan and Taiwan currently require 14 days quarantine on arrival, exactly as Thailand does. Hard to work out how that makes them “smarter” if they apply the same rule …

  16. Avatar

    Latecomer

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    What “visitors”? Anyway, great idea. Maybe Ibiza or Mikonos or Bali or Goa should try as well..

  17. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, October 2, 2020 at 1:25 am

    You seem unaware that Japan and Taiwan, which you wax lyrical about, also have the exact same 14 day quarantine requirements you’re complaining about here.

    How can that be “stupid” for Thailand but “smarter” for them???

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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.

Pattaya

Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin

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Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin | Thaiger
PHOTO: Elephants walking down the road because their car is in the shop.

A group of 5 elephants and their owners began the long walk today from Pattaya to Surin after giving up on the return of tourism anytime soon. The 500 kilometre journey has to be done on foot as they couldn’t afford to hire trucks large enough to carry each elephant.

After waiting a year for the Chinese tourists that make up a majority of their customer base to return, the families decided to embark on the long journey with the 5 elephants to their home in the northeastern province of Surin. As they walk they’re protected on both sides by pickup trucks to keep them safe from cars.

5 years ago Napalai Mai-ngam came with her relatives to work in an elephant resort in Tambon Lam Huay Yai of Bang Lamung near Pattaya with their 5 elephants. They told the Bangkok Post that their earned a good living, about 75,000 baht (15,000 per elephant) plus tips from the tourists to ride elephants on nature trails, each month.

But with the borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the tourists from China who usually flocked to elephant activities, were stuck back in China and Napalai’s boss had to cut their pay. Even with vaccinations finally underway, tourists in numbers, enough to sustain activities like elephant camps, may not be back anytime soon. The families finally had to surrender to the reality and start the long walk home.

They avoid the blistering Thai sun by walking early mornings while the weather was still cool, and hope the roadways out of Pattaya would provide snacking opportunities for the elephants to graze. They expect the journey to take about 2 weeks. The families have turned down offers of cash donations for fear that their long walk will be viewed as a publicity stunt.

That said, the families have expressed gratitude to the locals in towns they pass who have donated drinking water, food and fruit to the entourage of people and elephants. If you would like to donate resources you can contact them on phone number 093 335 7062.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning

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Southern Thai people turn from tourism to gold panning | Thaiger
PHOTO: Traditional panning for gold replaces tourism for income in Southern Thailand

Thars gold in dem hills!

With tourism in Thailand struggling due to Covid-19, and an economy needing some help, some people in the southern Thai region of the country have found income in an unusual source: panning for gold. The Sukhirin region close to the Malaysian border is known for gold deposits in the Sai Buri River and surrounding mountains. Villagers who made money before with tourism have now returned to panning for gold using old-fashioned manual techniques their ancestors used, without the aid of any machinery. Well, just an old pan.

Locals had previously made money selling food to passing tourists or acting as a tour guide to take people around the area, where travellers seeking to get away from the crowded and overdeveloped tourist areas that attract the most foreigners find many unique activities. Kayaking was a popular local activity with up to 150 people a day sailing down the rivers that are now filled with locals panning for gold. The prospectors are now making their income from the gold they collect which sells for 1,500 baht per gram. Families that work together can often collect at least one gram a day.

Thai Gold prices have reached record highs over the last 2 years and many Thai people have traditionally used gold and gold jewellery as a form of savings and investment, pawning their gold rings and bracelets in times of financial emergencies. The gold collected from these Southern villages will be used to make jewellery in Bangkok.

The region had invested in expanding into ecotourism but the pandemic put all their construction plans on hold. A cable car was being built to transport people up to the tops of the mountains to beautiful temples. The area’s unique history attracted people to their annual Rocket Festival, typically a north-eastern celebration.

In 1932, France was granted a 25 year mining contract in the jungles. They extracted almost 2000 kg of gold before World War II forced closure. The mining tunnels still exist and sometimes attracted adventurous tourists, but now sit vacant aside from snakes. In the 1960s the Thai government incentivised northerners with 18 rai of land each to move to the region. As a result, the area stands out in the Muslim region with 90% of the population being Buddhist, and most still speaking Isan dialects.

SOURCE: France 24

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Economy

Thai baht performs worst of all Southeast Asian currencies

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Thai baht performs worst of all Southeast Asian currencies | Thaiger
Photo by Peter Hellberg for flickr

Among common currencies in Southeast Asia, the Thai baht was the worst performing in the first quarter of 2021, mostly due to Covid-19’s effect on tourism in Thailand.

This week the baht hit its lowest point in half a year, falling 4% against the US dollar to 31.24. The decline was the sharpest in all of the Southeast Asian nations. The Indonesian rupiah fell 3.4% and the Malaysian ringgit fell 3.1%, while the Philippine peso and Singapore dollar dropped 1% and the Vietnamese dong basically held steady. Kyats, the Burmese currency did plummet further, 5.6%, following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, but it’s not considered a common currency.

Thailand’s depreciation is heavily due to the economic downturn as a result of the pandemic which has all but killed Thailand’s tourist-heavy economy. With borders closed, the drop in foreign tourism pumping money into the economy has left a glaring hole. Before Covid-19, in the third quarter of 2019, Thailand held a surplus of US$11.5 billion baht. By the third quarter of 2020, the surplus had fallen to $6.6 billion, and by the end of the year, it had slid to a deficit of $1.4 billion.

Thailand had been bolstered by the surplus and by the constant influx of tourist spending supporting the economy. Tourism money fell to $742 million due to the pandemic border closure, just 5% of the equivalent period last year. The government is hoping to restart the tourism economy and pump more Thai baht into the country with a variety of actions to shorten quarantine, reopen key tourist locations like Phuket, and eventually allow in vaccinated travellers without any quarantine.

Many are still unsure of Thailand’s stability, with investors, importers and exporters still having doubts. The Finance Minister believes there’s no need to panic, as he was expecting a backlash when the Thai baht hit a 7 year high. They have acted by increasing investment limits to US$5 million for Thais to buy foreign securities, up from US$200,000 and loosened restrictions on foreign currency deposits.

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia

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