TAT proposes ways to loosen quarantine

TAT proposes ways to loosen quarantine

Agency to offer city bubbles in sandbox

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn (centre) presided at the inauguration of the Hug Thais project yesterday which aims at encouraging Thais to use local products and boost domestic trips.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn (centre) presided at the inauguration of the Hug Thais project yesterday which aims at encouraging Thais to use local products and boost domestic trips.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to offer city bubble and activity-based travel agreement in sandbox areas to ease quarantine requirements in Thailand and the visitor's home country.

"Even though international arrivals can visit sandbox areas with quarantine-free entry, they might face quarantine back home as Thailand is still perceived as high risk," said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

The city bubble, a travel agreement which involves low-risk cities, will allow more tourists to visit safe destinations in the sandbox programme in Thailand.

Mr Yuthasak said the travel bubbles under sealed routes can be conducted based on activities such as wedding bubbles and baby bubbles for those seeking IVF treatment.

The agency will work with the Foreign Ministry to communicate with embassies in Thailand that sandbox sites like Phuket and Koh Samui are safe with low numbers of new cases.

He said the TAT will build travel confidence and encourage other countries to ease travel restrictions with Thailand in order to loosen quarantine requirements when tourists return home.

The potential markets for bilateral travel agreements are Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. However, the discussion had to put on hold after the new outbreak in Thailand.

Mr Yuthasak said the country plans to attract tourists from some cities in Vietnam or mainland China like Kunming to visit Chiang Mai under arranged routes. But after the virus flared up in Guangzhou, the plan was halted.

Mr Yuthasak said China is preparing to host the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, so he hopes the Chinese government might relax some travel restrictions during Golden Week in October to test run their reopening plan when the event takes place next February.

Meanwhile, the TAT yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) to roll out Hug Thais project aimed at encouraging Thais to use local products and boost domestic trips. The project will offer special deals for tourists to Phuket first with estimated economic impact of over 100 billion baht within the next six months.

TCC chairman Sanan Angubolkul said the 120-day reopening goal is worth the risk. The measures to support liquidity for small and medium-sized enterprises and retail operators are vital to restart business.

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