No travel bubbles yet for tourists

No travel bubbles yet for tourists

Passengers return to Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Monday as domestic flights resume, but international tourism is still some time off, due to concerns about the travel bubble idea. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Passengers return to Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Monday as domestic flights resume, but international tourism is still some time off, due to concerns about the travel bubble idea. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Travel bubbles for general tourism will not become fact anytime soon, and the first people to benefit are likely to be working professionals and people attending international meetings, senior officials said on Wednesday.

Gen Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council and head of the government's committee on disease control relaxation, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) had not yet made a decision on travel bubbles.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as the CCSA director, doctors and security officials were concerned about the possible implications, and emphasised public health over tourism.

"Many countries have approached us for travel pairing, but Thailand must prioritise public health. Measures to control Covid-19 in those countries will be studied... There must be thorough discussions, which may continue into next month," Gen Somsak said.

A government source said the government would assess possible revenue from the travel bubbles  proposal, the possible impact on local people from any undetected, infected visitors, and other likely damage.

It would also consider the reaction of local people to foreign visitors and possible claims of discrimination between Thai returnees, who must enter quarantine, and foreign travellers, and between countries inside and outside the travel bubbles.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he would propose the travel bubble plan to the prime minister next week. Pairing would apply to countries where Covid-19 is not spreading.

Travel bubbles would be initially for people attending international meetings and training sessions, engineers and technicians, and foreign teachers returning to work at international schools in Thailand. They would not be for foreign tourists, he said.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (95)

Rail work delayed

The government's ban on moving construction workers during the latest Covid-19 uptick has adversely impacted the progress of the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project.

20:52

Cabinet approves additional B46bn in virus relief measures

The cabinet approved an additional 46 billion baht of support measures on Tuesday for education and Covid-19-related assistance as the country tackles its biggest wave of coronavirus infections to date.

20:25

Thailand seeks world record for petrified wood

A ministry has planned to apply for a new Guinness World Record for the longest petrified log after realising the piece found in Tak province 18 years ago was longer than the current record holder in China.

20:12