Pandemic stymies travel aspirations

Pandemic stymies travel aspirations

Women in traditional outfits visit Sensoji temple in Tokyo in April 2021 during the first day of a new Covid-19 state of emergency. (AFP photo)
Women in traditional outfits visit Sensoji temple in Tokyo in April 2021 during the first day of a new Covid-19 state of emergency. (AFP photo)

Uncertainty caused by Covid-19 in Thailand and Japan has put travel plans in a holding pattern.

Thailand and Japan have had a strong bond in tourism exchange for years -- in 2019, 1.3 million Thais travelled to Japan and 1.8 million Japanese tourists visited Thailand.

But it is unlikely Thais and Japanese will be visiting each other's countries any time soon.

Japan declared a third state of emergency from April 25 to May 11 in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures to deal with a fourth wave of Covid-19, while Thailand has imposed stricter controls with lockdown-like measures in many provinces, including Bangkok.

A survey in Japan by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting, however, revealed Thailand still ranked in the top five of desired destinations among Japanese people. Nevertheless, while 40% of respondents said they are ready to take a trip overseas, the volatile pandemic situation means people may change their mind at any time.

Chanyuth Sawetsuwan, director at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office in Osaka, further said the Covid-19 situation in Japan has fluctuated over the past year and this was seen as one of the biggest obstacles for tourism as Japanese travellers are usually sensitive to health-related issues.

For Thais with plans to visit Japan, those too must remain on hold.

When Thai people are asked about favoured destinations abroad, Japan often takes the top spot, particularly when compared with other short-haul destinations.

But, unfortunately, any wishes of returning to their favoured overseas destination are unlikely to be fulfilled within this year as Japan still does not have a reopening policy for the return of international tourists.

Moreover, with only 1.2% of Japan's population having received a vaccination, which is quite similar to the pace of vaccination in Thailand, international tourism in Japan will resume at full speed only once the country achieves herd immunity.

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  • aspiration: something that you want to achieve, or the wish to achieve something - ความปรารถนา,ความอยาก
  • bond: a close connection - ความผูกพัน
  • declare: to announce officially that something is true or happening - ประกาศ ยืนยัน
  • favoured (adj): preferred; liked more than other things - ชอบมากกว่า
  • fluctuate: to change or vary, especially continuously and between one level or thing and another - ผันแปร, ขึ้นๆ ลงๆ
  • herd immunity: when most of a population is immune to an infectious disease -
  • impose: to introduce something, such as a new law or new system and force people to accept it - นำกฎหมายมาบังคับใช้
  • measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
  • short-haul: short distance -
  • stymie: to stop from achieving something -
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