Omicron will not affect reopening, says ministry

Omicron will not affect reopening, says ministry

Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the first day of the country's reopening on Nov 1. (Photo: REUTERS)
Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the first day of the country's reopening on Nov 1. (Photo: REUTERS)

Thailand will not stop its reopening plan despite uncertainty over the Omicron variant and the Tourism and Sports Ministry will also propose more relaxation on alcohol sales.

"Nobody wants another border closure as it was really difficult for us to reopen the country. Our economy still suffers from the crisis, so there will be no more border closures unless we are in a critical situation," said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Tourism and Sports Minister.

He said international travellers during the first 29 days of reopening numbered over 100,000.

The ministry expected 300,000-400,000 tourists would visit Thailand by year-end, thanks to the winter season.

However, the plan to replace RT-PCR tests with antigen test kits for the Test and Go scheme from Dec 16 has to be postponed until there is more clarity on the Omicron variant.

Mr Phiphat said he will discuss with the cabinet today about allowing the sale of alcohol in blue zone areas until after midnight during year-end celebrations and unlocking sales from 2-5pm as the current rules don't permit booze sales during those hours.

Mr Phiphat said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will organise countdown events in five regions including Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Chonburi.

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Vocabulary

  • border: the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต
  • cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
  • clarity: the ability to be easily seen, heard or understood - ความชัดเจน
  • closure (noun): the shutting down of a school, factory or other business or service - การปิด
  • crisis: a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point - ช่วงวิกฤต
  • critical (adj): (of a bad situation) very serious or dangerous - รุนแรง  วิกฤต
  • expect (verb): to think or believe that something will happen or that somebody will do something - คาด, คาดว่า, คาดการณ์
  • permit (verb): to allow someone to do something - อนุญาต, อนุมัติ, ยินยอม
  • replace: to change from one thing to another - แทน
  • suffer: to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation - ประสบความลำบาก
  • variant: a thing that is a slightly different form or type of something else - สิ่งที่ผันแปร, สิ่งที่แตกต่างกัน
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