Thailand News Update | Thailand to target Saudi tourists to Pattaya

Around 2,500 travellers flew into Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday… the first day of the rebooted Test & Go program. The passengers arrived on 46 different flights. Just some quick maths suggests that’s around 54 people per flight… glad I’m not running those airlines.Most of the arrivals came from Malaysia and Singapore, and a few from European destinations as well.To be clear, none of yesterday’s arrivals were under the new Test & Go program which only opened for registration yesterday morning at 9am.Travellers are now required to take two PCR tests, one on the first day of arrival and another on the fifth. They also have to stay in an SHA+ hotel for those two days… all of that pre-paid with the receipts uploaded when you apply for your Test & Go Thailand Pass.Whilst many of the arrivals at the moment are Thais, business people and expats, the country’s tourism sector is wary about the more complicated Test & Go reboot is going to bring the flood of tourists the TAT and Tourism Ministry believe. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the relaunched Test & Go here at The Thaiger.

The Thai / Saudi love-in is still in full swing. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed tourism businesses in Pattaya to prepare a travel roadshow for upcoming ministerial visits to Saudi Arabia in order to promote tourism and develop relations between the two nations.Following the directive, the TAT governor met with the Pattaya entrepreneurs group “One Voice” to reveal the PM’s trip to Saudi Arabia along with cabinet members and TAT officials (of course), although the date has not been set for the travelling expo at this stage.According to the governor, the main goal is to attract Saudi tourists to visit Thailand and promote the country’s tourism industry, which he said will have a significant impact on the Thai economy.Early plans are reportedly in the works to promote Pattaya as a “HUB” for tourism from Saudi Arabia, particularly Islamic tourism, with plenty of halal foods, local mosques, a growing Muslim community, hotels with Muslim-friendly prayer rooms, and family-friendly tourist attractions that are acceptable to Islamic visitors.And as we all ponder that last paragraph, we’ll quickly move onto the next story….

——————————————————————————————————————————————————Authorities have slapped the Phuket taxi driver, who is accused of overcharging a Thai passenger after an argument over the fee went viral, with a 2,000 baht fine, and have ordered him to go through etiquette training. The driver charged a Thai traveller 600 baht for a roughly 15 minute drive from the Kamala Beach area to a hotel near Patong Beach.The traveller had tried to book a ride through the applications Grab and Bolt, but drivers on both platforms refused, apparently due to fears from what they described as a taxi mafia. The traveller says the fare was listed as 168 baht on his Bolt app. He and his girlfriend decided to hail a taxi, but when the driver told them the ride was 600 baht, they got into a debate and then the police became involved.The traveller filmed the altercation, where the driver can be seen yelling that the fare is 600 baht, and the videos were widely shared on social media. The driver swore at the passengers and told them to call the police, adding that officers won’t do anything because “they are friends”.According to Phuket Police Commander, the driver is now under investigation for causing fear by threatening and intimidating. The police say they are gathering more evidence from CCTV footage and asking more witnesses about the situation before pressing additional charges.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————Two Chinese men have been arrested for allegedly defrauding more than 1,000 people for more than 2 billion baht by luring them in to make high investments on an online shopping application. Police in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai received complaints from those who had lost money in the alleged scam.According to the chief of the 191 Patrol and Special Operation Division, Pol Maj Gen Somboon Thiankhao, the two suspects have been found at their condominium in RamIntra district after following complaints.Four computers, 10 cell phones, and 57 passbooks with ATM and mobile phone SIM cards were seized by police, who also discovered a total of 2 billion baht being transacted, with 1.4 billion baht being transferred to other bank accounts and the rest being laundered through cryptocurrencies.During questioning, the two suspects told police that they came to Thailand to work in the financial services for a monthly pay of 30,000 baht each and reportedly denied that they had misled others.Now they are being charged with exploiting electronic money and operating without work permits in the kingdom and have been transferred to Khok Kram police, along with all of the things confiscated, as the investigation has now been expanded to find their collaborators.


In the past several months, 76 inmates have escaped from Thai correctional facilities, a significant increase when compared to the previous year. The Thai Justice Minister says most of the prisoners escaped during their 14 day quarantine at a temporary prison or hospital, which remains a requirement before being housed in the general prison population. For a long term approach to managing the situation, the minister says the Department of Corrections will organise a prison system to offer a specific area for the new inmates to quarantine as the Covid-19 situation is ongoing with no clear end in sight.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————And as Myanmar marks its first anniversary after the 2021 military coup, streets in some of the country’s main cities were nearly deserted. Opponents of military rule held silent vigils to mark the coup de tat (French word… koo day tar) that sparked deadly chaos and destroyed the country’s tentative steps towards democracy with Aung Sun Su Kyi at the helm.The US, Britain and Canada imposed new sanctions on the Burmese military and joined other countries in calling for a global halt in arms sales to Myanmar.Since its bloody suppression of protests in the months following the coup, the military has faced armed resistance on multiple fronts in outlying areas from groups allied with the ousted government.Yesterday, an explosion took place during a procession of military supporters in Tachileik, right on the border with Thailand’s Chiang Rai province. The blast killed two people, according to witnesses, and wounded more than 30 others.

Covid-19 update

-8,587 new cases

-(131 from abroad)

-22 deaths

-83,094 in care

-8,485 discharged from care