List of travel bubbles 'still in the works'

List of travel bubbles 'still in the works'

Young visitors at Yoyo Land, a fund park in the compound of Seacon Square in Bangkok, are required to wear face masks and keep a safe distance during a ride. Amusement parks and playgrounds were allowed to reopen from Monday with social-distancing measures implemented. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Young visitors at Yoyo Land, a fund park in the compound of Seacon Square in Bangkok, are required to wear face masks and keep a safe distance during a ride. Amusement parks and playgrounds were allowed to reopen from Monday with social-distancing measures implemented. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The government has yet to decide which areas will be opened to international tourism under the travel bubble scheme, which will be implemented once the ban on tourism is lifted, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday.

Gen Prayut said that travel bubble scheme is preferred because it makes it easier for the government to monitor tourists and their movements.

"Tourists won't be able to roam freely -- they can only go to places which have high disease-control capabilities. This is the guideline for the reception of foreign tourists... I think it's safer and better than liberalised tourism," the prime minister said.

According to the prime minister, in addition to caps on visitor numbers, there will be added restrictions depending on the tourist's travel history and/or inbound flight. Those areas will need to have effective disease-control measures in place, including social distancing, and reopened areas could be closed again if problems occurred, he said.

"There must be regulations before international tourism resumes. We will do it in a step-by-step manner and the government is planning this carefully," Gen Prayut said, before reminding that tourists must also have health certificates.

He said that anyone who can accept the government's rules will be allowed to enter Thailand.

"Right now, foreign investors can come to Thailand, but they are required to stay in quarantine before they can go out and do their business. So far, they have continued to come," said Gen Prayut.

When asked about people's concerns about re-opening the country to foreign tourists, Gen Prayut said the government has not let them in yet, stressing that tourists do not have official permission to travel to Thailand yet and inbound passengers will continue to face strict examinations at border entry checkpoints.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said the Ministry of Public Health agrees with the idea of limiting inbound tourism to visitors from countries without grave Covid-19 situations, or which have managed to successfully handle the outbreak.

If a tourist is infected, the government must be able to track them to prevent them from spreading the virus to other people, said Mr Anutin.

"We are being very open to those countries that are interested in having country-to-country travel collaboration with us. I have already talked to the ambassadors of Singapore and New Zealand. The Chinese and South Korean ambassadors will also come to talk to us," he said.


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