Tourism-related business operators in Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi have petitioned relevant authorities to review new tourist requirements, saying it will bring many complications and hinder the country’s recovering tourism sector.
Nine organizations jointly signed a petition on January 6th, addressing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Public Heath Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, and Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Yuthasak Supasorn to alter requirements for tourists traveling to Thailand.
The petition concerns four requirements including:
- Tourists should receive at least 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- If the tourist’s country has a requirement for a negative RT-PCR test result before returning, the tourist is recommended to purchase health insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment.
- Tourists should protect themselves while in the destination country by taking preventive measures such as wearing a mask in public or shared transportation, and frequently washing their hands.
- If the tourist has any respiratory symptoms, they are recommended to have an ATK test and seek medical treatment at a hospital if the symptoms are severe. Tourists who need to do RT-PCR testing before returning to their home country are recommended to stay in a SHA+ hotel.
The organizations said they were thankful for the government’s concerns, but they were worried that the measures, especially the requirement for tourists to have two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, would complicate travels and discourage tourists from visiting Thailand.
Most organizations also complained about the sudden and unexpected nature of the requirements, stating they did not have time to adjust and brace for the impact.
They went on to say that countries such as Russia and Australia have already lifted their Covid-19 restrictions, but Thailand was regressing by reviving these measures, which might cause other countries to lose confidence in Thailand. A major tour agency in France already reportedly criticized Thailand for its “political instability” and was trying to cancel trips to Thailand.
The nine organizations then proposed the government alter the requirement for vaccines to apply only to tourists traveling from countries that required Covid test results before returning instead.
The government should exempt tourists traveling from countries without such requirement because Covid-19 in those countries had already transformed into an endemic disease, and the majority of people there had already been fully vaccinated, the petitioners said.
The government had not responded to the petition as of press time.
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