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Thailand eyes travel bubbles again with low-risk countries

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Thailand is eyeing travel bubbles once again with low-risk countries like Singapore, Laos and Vietnam. Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says officials from Thailand and Singapore are discussing forming travel bubbles, as Singapore already has experience forming green routes with other asian countries.

“We have acknowledged that Singapore has previously run the travel bubble with Australia and New Zealand. If Singapore agrees to run the scheme with Thailand as well, we would probably be able to receive tourists from Australia and New Zealand, in addition to Singaporeans.”

He says it would be easier for Thailand to form travel bubbles with Laos and Vietnam as they share a border. When Thailand reopens in October, as is the current proposal, travel bubbles are expected to commence around the same time. But the idea only seems to be popular with other ASEAN countries as Thailand’s leading source markets like China and Russia don’t seem to have travellers in a hurry to leave (even if they were allowed).

But, as before, Thailand’s travel bubble plans may be halted if any more massive outbreaks or a third wave appears. Talks with European nations have been stalled as infections increased. Last year, Thailand mulled such travel bubbles, but they never came to fruition as partnering countries along with Thailand dealt with second waves of the coronavirus.
Thailand is slowly reopening to vaccinated foreign visitors with a three step plan up to the end of the year. The quarantine period has been cut down to 7 days for vaccinated visitors arriving in Thailand. Phuket is set to reopen in July under the “sandbox” model where vaccinated visitors can travel to the island without undergoing quarantine (if the local population can reach a level of 70% vaccination in the next 2 months).
Meanwhile, the island nations of Taiwan and Palau are leading the race in creating Asia’s first travel bubble, allowing citizens of the 2 countries to fly back and forth without quarantine. Palau, the tiny Micronesian archipelago of 500 islands dotting the western Pacific Ocean, calls it a “sterile corridor” connecting the two countries. China Airlines, the Taiwanese carrier, flew the 4-hour journey between Taipei airport and Palau’s main airport yesterday afternoon.

SOURCE: Travel Daily Media

 

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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