Poll: Majority disagree with reopening country to tourists

Poll: Majority disagree with reopening country to tourists

A majority of people disagree with reopening the country to foreign tourists for fear of a second wave of Covid-19, according to an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The random survey was conducted on Oct 1-2 on 1,318 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.

They were asked about the "special tourist visa" scheme allowing long-term stays by foreigners after 14 days in quarantine. The scheme is to be launched on Oct 8.

A majority, 56.98%, of respondents disagreed with it. Of these 40.21% were in total disagreement for fear of a second wave of Covid-19, saying they wanted the country to maintain its record of being able to contain the virus, while 16.77% disagreed to  lesser degree, saying they did not have total confidence in the government's preventive measures.

On the other side, 42.26% agreed with it, saying it would help spur the economy, revive tourism-related business and inject money into circulation, but there must be effective preventive measures in place.

The rest, 0.76%, had no comment or were not interested.

Asked which of the three groups - those arriving by air, by land via border checkpoints and by land through natural border crossings - they fear would bring Covid-19 into the country, 50.23% said all three groups were equally a threat; 31.11% pointed to those arriving by land via natural border passes; 10.54% pointed to the group arriving by air; 4.10% said none of them was a threat; 3.72% said arriving by land via border checkpoints; and 0.30% had no comment or were not interested.

Asked about their confidence in the government's ability to effectively prevent the spread of Covid-19 when the country is reopened to foreign tourists, a clear majority, 62.61%, said "no". Of these, 35.43% were not quite confident because most of the new cases were returnees from abroad, while 26.18% had no confidence at all in the government's preventive measures.

On the other side, 25.04% said they had moderate confidence in the government while 11.91% had strong confidence in it.

The rest, 1.44%, had no comment or were not interested.

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