Published on : Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Thailand’s sports and tourism minister said that in the first phase, tourists arriving under the Special Tourist Visa scheme need to be 100% Covid-free. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that if this is not achieved, then the reopening plan will be postponed for an indefinite time. Given the number of infections witnessed in the past 3 months, his 100% score-card appears somewhat impractical.
Ratchakitprakarn said, “Before we approach the second stage on November 17, which aims to shorten the quarantine period, we must evaluate the first phase. If there’s even a single case, we cannot continue to the second phase. The Chinese group previously set as the first batch to arrive via Phuket airport is rescheduled to October 26 to preserve the local confidence during the vegetarian festival of October 17-25.”
Along with stringent guidelines for tourists, Ratchakitprakarn said that the Tourism Ministry might urge consideration of suitable tourists based on their cities of origin and not their countries, as some nations have larger areas in which cities have remained Covid-free for more than 100 days. He said that if the first phase of reopening sees no new cases, then the Public Health Ministry might consider reducing quarantine period down to 7 days.
Phiphat said that 7 days in quarantine and 7 days confined to the hotel premises, or the 7+7 plan would be a feasible option to keep everyone safe but it would allow tourists to get out of their rooms faster. Along with a decreased quarantine period, the ministry plans urging domestic tour operators to arrange weekday tour packages for travelers between 55 and 75 years old. This plan would help tourists get a 40% subsidy on packages, at a maximum 5,000 baht.