Thailand remains shut for foreign tourists until next year

Normally bustling with young foreigners, Bangkok’s Khao San Road is literally dead under the Covid-19 lockdown

Thailand’s borders will remain shut for foreign tourists until the first quarter of 2021 as the Covid-19 situation is still critical in many countries, government officials said.

With an indefinite ban of commercial passenger flights in force, the country will remain sealed off for international tourists until at least February or even March 2021, the deputy governor for international marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, said. He noted that there was currently “no talk of a timeline being issued for reopening the country to inbound or outbound leisure travel.”

He said that discussions about a potential re-opening had been very “risk averse” and initial plans to open travel corridors with low-risk countries have been shelved at the moment as some of those countries have had recent spikes, including Vietnam, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, among others.

“There’s still a lot of nervousness. We’re taking a very, very cautious approach,” Chattan said, indicating that the situation was “far from ideal” for those involved in promoting international tourism.

The closure will heavily affect the upcoming two high tourism seasons in Thailand, namely the Christmas holiday season and Chinese New Year in February.

Foreign arrival number to drop by more than 80 per cent

TAT said that if the country remains closed in the last quarter of the year, the number of foreign tourists will dramatically shrink to seven million for 2020, down from 39.8 million last year. This will inevitably lead to widespread unemployment in the tourism and related services industry, as domestic tourism is in no way capable of offsetting the losses.

Thailand is currently only allowing certain groups of travelers to enter the country, all of which are subject to Covid-19 tests and quarantine. The group includes – apart from repatriated Thais – diplomats selected business people and investors, work permit holders, people with permanent residency, people seeking medical treatment, film and exhibition crews, Thai elite visa holders and selected migrant worker, but no ordinary tourists or even retirement visa holders.

The maximum number of incoming passengers is presently limited to 500 per day in line with Covid-19 precautionary measures, so the waiting list is substantially long, and all travelers have to submit a bunch of paperwork and also pay for their two-week state- quarantine and virus testing.

The prolonged border closure came as Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on August 13 announced a new Covid-19 related center with up to 22 committees tasked with coordinating the country’s economic recovery.



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Normally bustling with young foreigners, Bangkok's Khao San Road is literally dead under the Covid-19 lockdown Thailand’s borders will remain shut for foreign tourists until the first quarter of 2021 as the Covid-19 situation is still critical in many countries, government officials said. With an indefinite ban of commercial passenger flights in force, the country will remain sealed off for international tourists until at least February or even March 2021, the deputy governor for international marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, said. He noted that there was currently “no talk of a timeline being...

Normally bustling with young foreigners, Bangkok’s Khao San Road is literally dead under the Covid-19 lockdown

Thailand’s borders will remain shut for foreign tourists until the first quarter of 2021 as the Covid-19 situation is still critical in many countries, government officials said.

With an indefinite ban of commercial passenger flights in force, the country will remain sealed off for international tourists until at least February or even March 2021, the deputy governor for international marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, said. He noted that there was currently “no talk of a timeline being issued for reopening the country to inbound or outbound leisure travel.”

He said that discussions about a potential re-opening had been very “risk averse” and initial plans to open travel corridors with low-risk countries have been shelved at the moment as some of those countries have had recent spikes, including Vietnam, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, among others.

“There’s still a lot of nervousness. We’re taking a very, very cautious approach,” Chattan said, indicating that the situation was “far from ideal” for those involved in promoting international tourism.

The closure will heavily affect the upcoming two high tourism seasons in Thailand, namely the Christmas holiday season and Chinese New Year in February.

Foreign arrival number to drop by more than 80 per cent

TAT said that if the country remains closed in the last quarter of the year, the number of foreign tourists will dramatically shrink to seven million for 2020, down from 39.8 million last year. This will inevitably lead to widespread unemployment in the tourism and related services industry, as domestic tourism is in no way capable of offsetting the losses.

Thailand is currently only allowing certain groups of travelers to enter the country, all of which are subject to Covid-19 tests and quarantine. The group includes – apart from repatriated Thais – diplomats selected business people and investors, work permit holders, people with permanent residency, people seeking medical treatment, film and exhibition crews, Thai elite visa holders and selected migrant worker, but no ordinary tourists or even retirement visa holders.

The maximum number of incoming passengers is presently limited to 500 per day in line with Covid-19 precautionary measures, so the waiting list is substantially long, and all travelers have to submit a bunch of paperwork and also pay for their two-week state- quarantine and virus testing.

The prolonged border closure came as Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on August 13 announced a new Covid-19 related center with up to 22 committees tasked with coordinating the country’s economic recovery.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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