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The Thai Travel Agents' Association (Atta) plans to propose an inbound tourism plan for the short-haul market without a 14-day quarantine but insists on a public hearing before anything is approved.
Besides many rules to ensure that no inbound travellers will cause infections in the country, tour operators must be prepared to take responsibility for this scheme, Atta's president Vichit Prakobgosol said.
"We have to take the first step in the fourth quarter of this year or Thailand will receive only 10 million foreign tourists next year, losing another 1.5 trillion baht in revenue from tourism," he said.
More than 2.5 million tourism workers are at risk of losing their jobs if the country can not open its borders within this year to international tourists, as only 10 per cent of tourism workers can access soft loans from the rehabilitation package, Mr Vichit said.
Tourists have to come from cities which have reported no new cases for at least 60 days, according to Atta's draft proposal.
They must board flights with a health certificate issued no more than 72 hours prior to the flight and take another test upon arrival, and they will be immediately escorted to a hotel while awaiting the result.
The program will only be held in provinces which agree to allow tourists to visit through this scheme.
Atta will limit the number of tourists in each group, to satisfy local communities, Mr Vichit said.
The association has already met with Sontaya Kunplome, Pattaya's mayor and the town has had a positive reaction to Atta's idea.
Mr Vichit insisted there is a demand for such a scheme from the short-haul market, particularly from China, which last year accounted for 10 million tourists and has more than 20 virus-free cities.
Meanwhile, the government is pushing ahead with its plan for international visitors to stay longer.
The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said the ministry will try its best to bring back long-stay tourists by Oct 1, although they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Although other Asian countries like Singapore have cut the quarantine period to seven days, Thailand is not prepared to follow suit, he said.
Thapanee Kiatphaibool, deputy governor for tourism products and business at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said that Bangkok, Phuket, Buri Ram and Chon Buri are expected to be included in the first stage of welcoming tourists under the special tourism visa scheme.
Source Bangkok Post