Thai minister wants earlier reopening date and no quarantine with one condition

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While Thailand’s COVID task force is considering easing or eradicating the mandatory quarantine for foreign travellers by October, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn suggested an earlier reopening date in July given that the province has achieved herd immunity.

Speaking at a meeting with tourism representatives, Ratchakitprakarn stressed that the key to early reopening is vaccinating at least 70% of the population in three provinces. These three provinces are Phuket, Phang-Nga and Krabi, which are heavily reliant on tourism and is responsible for bringing 20% of the total tourism revenue in Thailand.

“According to the timeline set by the government, foreigners will be allowed to travel to Thailand without quarantine. But we want to do it faster. We hope this can be done starting with Phuket in July under the condition that at least 70% of its population is vaccinated, a requirement of 900,000 doses for 450,000 people,” Ratchakitprakarn said.

Ratchakitprakarn echoed Open Thailand Safely’s call for a more concrete tourism reopening plan. The organisation also suggested a full reopening without quarantine in July, which it argued as a low season for Thailand that will enable the country and tourism providers to adequately prepare for the arrival of foreign travellers.

Meanwhile, the tourism arm of the kingdom released a new video in a bid to entice travellers to visit the country.

Currently, Thailand allows international travel but incoming travellers must obtain a Certificate of Entry or STV/TR visas and undergo a 14-day quarantine in a pre-booked ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine) facility as well as present USD 100,000 medical insurance covering COVID-19 and a negative test result as part of the requirements in order to gain entry. The expensive quarantine is believed to deter travellers. Therefore, a quarantine-free travel has been a popular call among tourism companies.

Source: Thai Examiner, Reuters

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