THA: Let inoculated tourists visit without quarantine

Tourism operators are asking the government to start conducting research on a plan to welcome international tourists, which would aim to revoke the 14-day quarantine requirement for those visitors inoculated against Covid-19.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of Thai Hotels Association (THA), said the government should start researching guidelines for vaccinated tourists to bypass the mandatory quarantine if Thailand and other countries are able to implement a complete vaccination programme for their populations.

In recent months, the 14-day quarantine has been the biggest obstacle deterring foreign tourists, said Mrs Marisa.

She said the government could require visitors to have certificates of Covid-19 vaccination, or set up a travel plan via bilateral agreements to establish similar travel standards between countries.

As hotels cannot operate amid the new wave of local infections, the association urged the government to implement financial aid directed towards employees.

In a meeting with the Tourism and Sports Minister yesterday, THA proposed a co-payment scheme, which would provide a 50% subsidy for employees' monthly wages. The payment would be capped at 7,500 baht.

For hotels that already closed temporarily due to provincial orders, the Social Security Fund should compensate them as soon as possible and reduce their electricity bills to help with fixed costs, said Mrs Marisa.

"Hoteliers have suffered for almost a year, especially hotels in major destinations that rely heavily on international arrivals," she said. "The recent outbreak makes the situation even more difficult over the next 3-6 months, so the measure to support payroll is crucial."

The Pao Tang mobile app will add a new feature that allows postponement over the next 2-3 weeks, said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

"The TAT guarantees hoteliers can receive their 40% subsidy from the government for the affected bookings. They don't have to charge that amount to guests," he said.

As of Jan 6, 5.12 million room nights worth 13.6 billion baht and 357,752 air tickets worth 952 million had been redeemed.