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ATTA encourages Government to let vaccinated tourists come without quarantine

12 Jan 2021

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) offers an estimation of 80 per cent of inbound travel companies closing, encouraging the government to encourage vaccinated travellers to enter the country without quarantine in the third quarter to boost demand. 

Around 30 per cent of the 10,000 registered inbound tourism companies have permanently shut down, while half have temporarily stopped their operations because international visitors can not be received by Thailand, said Vichit Prakobgosol, president of Atta. 
By pivoting to the domestic market, ravaged by the recent surge in local transmissions, only 20 per cent of inbound operators remain in business.

"Operators have to fight until the last breath to maintain business, at least until the third quarter when there's hope for a new flow of tourists," said Mr Vichit. "If inbound tourism can restart, the country's economic recovery will get back on track." 

As several countries have begun mass vaccine programs, Thailand's operators support the concept of exempting all vaccinated against Covid-19 from quarantine.

He said the number of people receiving jabs may exceed 1 billion globally in the first half of this year, including potential visitors from China and Southeast Asia. 
The government has to start planning guidelines for safe entry, such as requiring a swab test on arrival or a tracking application, Mr Vichit said. 
On Monday, Atta, the Thai Hotels Association, and the Domestic Travel Association met with the Tourism and Sports Ministry to discuss urgent relief measures.

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourists, said he will submit to the prime minister the financial aid proposal operators are requesting, proposing today's cabinet meeting. 
The Ministry is also planning to discuss the initial concept of hotel quarantine (formerly known as area quarantine), which allows visitors to stay outside their rooms outside hotel areas. 

If the concept is approved, the Ministry of Public Health should create safety regulations within 1-2 weeks before proposing them to the Centre for the Administration of the Situation of Covid-19.

"The special tourist visa aiming for long-stay tourists might fail to stimulate tourism, "The special tourist visa aimed at long-stay tourists may fail to stimulate tourism. "But at least it helped assure locals that foreigners entering the country passed all the required safety regulations, which could ease quarantine rules." 

He remains confident that the hotel quarantine program will supply Thailand with more inbound demand. 

But the country will not hurry to allow inoculated visitors to enter without quarantine because it must wait for results from people who have completed both doses of the vaccine, leading to further guidelines being discussed with the Public Health Ministry, Mr Phiphat said.

"The government is working on a measure to confirm foreign visitors are vaccinated, such as certifications or passport stamps," he added.