Thai tourism authorities are preparing a plan to ease restrictions for travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus. This announcement came from senior officials said on Wednesday. The country is looking to revive the tourism industry battered by travel curbs.
Measures for vaccinated visitors would be introduced step-by-step and could include shortening the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from two weeks to three days for those vaccinated. In addition, they may waive it entirely for some cases, said Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn.
“We have to be fast because we want to start welcoming tourists in the third quarter,” he told Reuters.
The TAT plans to begin selling tour packages after April.
The tourism ministry has also requested 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for tourism workers in Chon Buri, Krabi, Phang Nga, Chiang Mai and Phuket.
According to the tourism minister, Phiphat Ratchakitpran, the five provinces will host “hotel area quarantine” programmes next month. This program is offering 5,000 to 6,000 rooms. In conclusion, visitors in these hotels can move around within hotel grounds instead of being confined to their rooms.
Tourism industry worst hit.
The global vaccine rollout has given hope to the pandemic-hit industry. The tourism industry makes up about 11% of Thailand’s economy. Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.
In 2019, Thailand received about 40 million foreign tourists, who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($63.60 billion).
Compared to just 6.7 million visitors last year and revenue of 332 billion baht. This massive drop due mainly to Thailand’s tight limits on international commercial flights and visitors.
Since October, the tourism authorities have allowed a limited number of tourists to return on long visas. These visas include a group from South Korea for a new “golf quarantine” programme.
“This year, we expect about five million visitors. However, next year it should jump because the vaccine will have helped, maybe 15 million,” Phiphat told state television.
Above all, arrivals could reach 30 million in 2023 and return to pre-pandemic levels the year after, he said.
Thailand, on Wednesday, received its first 200,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines.