On behalf of Thai tourism and airline businesses under the supports of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Thai Hotels Association (THA), Thai Spa Association, Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Thailand, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Board of Airline Representatives Business Association (BAR), Airlines Association of Thailand (AAT), we commend the government on its success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand. We also thank the Prime Minister and related state agencies for their leadership in protecting the health and lives of the Thai people. Their achievements are the direct consequence of exemplary cooperation across all levels and have become the pride of all Thai people.
Global attention has now shifted to vaccinating national populations against COVID-19. Many countries, particularly in Europe, the Middle East, the United States and China began their vaccination programs months ago. It is expected that up 70% of citizens in these countries will have been inoculated by the end of August. This trend bodes well for Thailand’s tourism sector. According to a survey by travel agencies, many vaccinated tourists expressed their interest in visiting Thailand, as soon as quarantine requirements are lifted. Such survey results suggest that even if Thailand were to reduce mandatory quarantine to seven days, the shortened quarantine period would still be enough to dissuade potential visitors from travelling to Thailand.
Therefore, we, representatives from eight major organizations in the Thai tourism and airline sectors, fully support the Minister of Tourism and Sports’ “Sandbox” policy in key tourism destinations in order to revive tourism and the economy. We also support the vaccination guidelines of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (See details in references), and propose the following policies for COVID-19 vaccinations in Thailand and the reopening of the country to visitors. These plans are a pivotal first step to restoring our country’s economy.
- Permit international travellers who have received COVID-19 vaccinations to enter the country without mandatory quarantine, at least in the leading tourist destinations such as Phuket and Samui, starting from 1st July 2021.
- Accelerate the vaccination of residents in leading tourist provinces such as Phuket and Samui to at least 70% of the population between 15th April and 30th June 2021. Achieving herd immunity will enhance the safety of welcoming travellers from abroad. (Phuket Tourism Sandbox will be proposed to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on 26th March 2021 and at the Cabinet Meeting on 30th March 2021).
- Allowing the private sector to cooperate with the government in COVID-19 vaccine procurement from other sources, in order to acquire adequate vaccine supplies and expedite distribution throughout the country.
- Prioritize the vaccination of approximately 1,000,000 people in the tourism and service sectors (for example hotel staffs and airline crews) within June 2021, to ensure safety and enhance the confidence of both workers and visiting tourists.
- Declare a concrete timeline and conditions for reopening the country to international travellers. Leading tourist destinations shall be reopened first, aiming for 1st July 2021. Target to reopen Thailand at large to vaccinated travellers from traditional feeder markets (i.e. through “Travel Bubble”) in time for upcoming high seasons. A concrete timeline is necessary so that tourism service providers can effectively ramp up their services.
- Approve the use of IATA Travel Pass, the mobile application that is most convenient for travellers facilitates verification of COVID-19 vaccination certificates, and enhance safety by screening travellers according to global standards.