TAT says all arrivals must stay at ASQ facilities in Bangkok

TAT says all arrivals must stay at ASQ facilities in Bangkok

Chinese passengers arrive Suvarnabhumi airport on Oct 20. They are among the first group of Chinese visitors to come to Thailand courtesy of the new Special Tourist Visa (STV). (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Chinese passengers arrive Suvarnabhumi airport on Oct 20. They are among the first group of Chinese visitors to come to Thailand courtesy of the new Special Tourist Visa (STV). (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

All inbound tourists have to complete quarantine at alternative state quarantine (ASQ) facilities in Bangkok in the first stage of reopening, with direct flights to provinces still postponed, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

"As we are now in the pilot phase, Bangkok is the best equipped in terms of public health system and ASQ facilities to take care of international tourists. It is more manageable here if any cases emerge," said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Transferring tourists to nearby provinces for quarantine leads to higher risk of virus exposure for more people, which could affect local sentiment towards bringing back foreigners.

However, tourists will be allowed to stay at alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) in provincial areas, if demand increases in the next phase of reopening and the number of ALSQ sites is adequate to receive tourists, while local sentiment improves, he said.

In order to stimulate more tourism activities after quarantine in Bangkok, the agency will partner with Thai Airways International, the Thai Hotels Association and the Association of Thai Travel Agents to offer tour packages as well as help subsidise tourism expenditure for foreigners.

The tour packages will consist of one-day trips in Bangkok or other provinces that can travel by land and air transport.

Meanwhile, the TAT plans to loosen more regulations for the domestic stimulus campaign to reach the goal of 5 million room nights and 2 million air ticket redemptions, which expires on Jan 31 next year.

As of Oct 22, only 1.9 million room nights have been redeemed, contributing 5.3 billion baht to 4,414 hotels nationwide.

In terms of air tickets, around 100,000 tickets or 203 million baht have been used.

Mr Yuthasak said the government will extend eligibility to unlicensed hotels that have taxpayer identification number.

Tour operators that can provide premium tour packages for Thai outbound tourists and the elderly will also be allowed to join the campaign.

The TAT is scheduled to talk today with online travel agencies, including Agoda, Traveloka and Ascend Travel, about the plan to sell tour packages on their platform without charging operators a commission fee and allow tour operators to pay only 2% of transaction fee. These platforms will make booking easier for tourists.

Tourists will be able to buy air tickets with instant discounts to create more air traffic which differs from the current regulation that require room booking first.

The TAT is working on the possibility of gift vouchers for hotel rooms, spa service or restaurants which will benefit hotel chains in Thailand.

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