Time to say goodbye to Test & Go and the Thailand Pass?
The government will propose removing the Test & Go scheme and Thailand Pass at a meeting with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on April 22. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is again requesting the cancellation with the tourism ministry, according to Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. The goal is to attract more travellers and boost Thailand interrupted tourism industry.
If the changes and revisions are approved, the changes could start as early as May 1, allowing travellers to enter Thailand using their vaccine documents rather than waiting 1 to 5 days for the Thailand Pass to be approved.
Also, PCR tests-on-arrival are planned to be replaced by 10-15 minute antigen tests (ATK).
“Thailand is ready to welcome back foreign visitors as our public health system is adequately equipped.”
It should be noted that these are proposals from the TAT and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, both with vested interests in reopening Thailand to as many tourists as possible. The proposed suggestions to relax restrictions and remove the Thailand Pass have NOT been discussed by the CCSA and need to be approved by CCSA members in a meeting, the Thai cabinet and then approved via the Royal Gazette before the changes become law.
The tourism ministry predicts at least 10 million international arrivals and over 1 trillion baht in revenue for the rest of 2022.
“It’s dependent on what travel rules each country comes up with.”
To reach that sort of goal for 2022 the numbers of tourists would have to increase to an average of 35,000 – 40,000 tourists arriving from overseas every day for the rest of 2022. Currently there are 9,000 – 11,000 tourists arriving each day in a Songkran surge that has fuelled packed roads, full flights and fully-booked trains over the annual Thai New Year celebrations.
Since April 1, the government removed pre-travel PCR tests for visitors who are part of the Sandbox, Test & Go or quarantine programs.
More than 100,000 hotel rooms have been reserved under “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme, aimed at domestic tourism, according to TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
People taking part will pay only 60% of the usual rates, with the rest covered by the government. Originally, the subsidy was fixed at five nights at 3,000 baht per night, but it has been increased to 10 nights. In reality, hotels have been inflating their prices for the promotional program and online travel agent prices have been equally competitive as the ‘discounted’ rates.
The government would explore continuing the program if hotels agree. The fourth phase of the plan is designed to promote domestic travel, by the end of May.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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