Prayut orders study on ‘vaccine passports’ amid tourism wipeout

Prayut orders study on ‘vaccine passports’ amid tourism wipeout

A man receives the Sinovac coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine at the Samut Sakhon hospital in Samut Sakhon province on Sunday. (Reuters photo)
A man receives the Sinovac coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine at the Samut Sakhon hospital in Samut Sakhon province on Sunday. (Reuters photo)

The prime minister said on Tuesday he has commissioned a study to look into issuing Covid-19 vaccination certificates for international travellers, as the country seeks to revive a tourism industry battered by coronavirus curbs.

Thailand has been mulling the idea of so-called "vaccine passports", but no target date has been set and tourism operators have complained about lost revenue.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the country will proceed with caution, waiting to see how effective vaccines are first in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

"I have already ordered the study so we can be prepared, but it's also important that we proceed in line with other countries," Gen Prayut said in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.

People in Thailand who are vaccinated would be given certificates, which could be used for international travel, he said.

Authorities will meet next week to discuss procedures to obtain such certificates, as well as quarantine arrangements for tourists with "vaccine passports" entering Thailand.

Previously, officials have said vaccinated visitors could have mandatory quarantine cut from two weeks to three days or waived entirely.

The global vaccine rollout has given hope to the pandemic-hit tourism industry, which directly makes up about 11% of the economy, and up to 20% by some calculations.

In 2020, Thailand's tourism revenue slumped to 332 billion baht from 1.91 trillion baht a year earlier, as visitor numbers plunged by 83%. 

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