Thailand should have plan for vaccine passport by June if plans to reopen in fourth quarter

23 Feb 2021

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand should have a clear plan for the vaccine passport by June if plans to reopen the international market by the fourth quarter are preserved (TAT). 

TAT Deputy Governor for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, said government policy would have a tremendous impact on international market plans, particularly in the long-haul market, which is advancing rapidly in terms of mass vaccination programs.

Tourists are ready to be inoculated or participate in a vaccine passport policy if this would allow them to travel abroad once again, he said, the opinions of overseas agents and recent surveys in key markets showed. 

"TAT plans to bring back international tourists by the fourth quarter but that will depend largely on our policy development too," Mr. Siripakorn said. 

The country should start soft launches in two phases to achieve the goal—marketing campaigns launched before the third quarter, followed by the introduction of an area quarantine policy within the third quarter, he said.

When the first batch of arrivals landed in Phuket and went into "villa quarantine" on Feb 21, the two phases started to take shape. This concept of quarantine is similar to the proposal of area quarantine. 

He said, during the third quarter, Qatar Airways requested the relaxation of the 14-day quarantine at beach destinations. If Thailand loosens the mandatory quarantine by March, the airline will now be ready to operate international flights to Phuket. 

However, the vaccinated tourist's policy is seen as a more critical condition as the TAT survey conducted among 4,127 British people found that if it became a mandatory requirement among destination countries, 75% agreed to be inoculated.

However, when a quarantine policy was in place, 41 percent of them disagreed with inoculation. 

In a survey of Finnish people, a similar result showed that 99 percent said vaccines were important to traveling abroad, while 68 percent indicated that if a country still had a mandatory quarantine policy, they would not take any trips. 

"Those surveys told us that the government must accelerate a concrete plan for a vaccine passport by June to receive inoculated tourists, or else we could miss a huge opportunity as some countries have already started a quarantine-free program for vaccinated travelers," Mr. Siripakorn said.

He said Thailand was still the preferred destination for many long-haul markets, with 62 percent of the Finnish people surveyed choosing Thailand as their ideal destination in the winter. 

In the first 3-5 days of arrival, a group of 20 Finnish tourists who booked inbound trips under the golf quarantine scheme this month postponed their plans due to uncertainties over the quarantine period. 

The Linger Longer campaign in which 60 packages were sold was also introduced by TAT's London office. During the Easter holidays, buyers plan to visit the country.

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Marketing Governor for Asia and the South Pacific, said holiday packages were also purchased in advance for the short-haul market. 

The Mumbai and New Delhi offices of TAT are reported that two groups of 200-300 Indians want to hold wedding ceremonies at beach hotels in Thailand. At least 10 million baht is expected to also be spent by any group. 

The country welcomed the first group of 41 Koreans to the Artitaya Golf and Resort Golf Quarantine in Nakhon Nayok last week.