The government’s plan to reopen to long-term foreign visitors should be finalised before the end of October, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The plan is intended to help revive the ailing tourism sector and save millions of jobs. It seeks to allow visitors to enter Thailand through international airports provided they do a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the port of entry. They would then be allowed to travel freely, according to Thosaporn Sirisumphand, secretary of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration.
As one of the most tourism-reliant economies in the world, Thailand is facing a severe contraction this year. The hospitality and tourism sectors are counting on the return of international visitors, who contributed up to two-thirds of tourism income before the pandemic, to reverse a slump in business and save up to 3.27 million jobs estimated to be at risk by the Thailand Development Research.
The government and businesses are weighing the cost between curbing infections and limiting the damage to the economy, which is forecast to contract 8.5% this year. A plan to reopen the island province of Phuket to foreign tourists has been delayed.