DestinationsScrapping quarantine rules for vaccinated travellers could be potential fix to TAT's 10 million goal in 2021.

Thailand in pitch to ditch quarantines

Thailand's 10 million international visitors goal will not be attainable if quarantine rules in place, says TAT's Yuthasak Supasorn.
Thailand's 10 million international visitors goal will not be attainable if quarantine rules in place, says TAT's Yuthasak Supasorn. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jens_Lambert_Photography

Tourism officials in Thailand have proposed a scheme to allow vaccinated travellers to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival, as well as the roll-out of promotional campaigns targeting inbound travel to attract international visitors back to the country again.

To reach this goal of attracting 10 million visitors in 2021, vaccine passports, all-inclusive packages and campaigns rallying inbound visitors are among the latest plans raised by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, Yuthasak Supasorn.

"If the need for a 14-day quarantine remains, it might be hard to achieve 10 million visitors this year," Yuthasak was quoted as saying by a Bangkok Post report.

The TAT chief noted also that Thailand must not stop on promotional campaigns, as the pause over the past year has heavily affected tour operators — who have been rallying the government to secure vaccines for the Kingdom.

Dubbed the Phoenix Initiative, TAT hopes to raise tourism revenue to 1.2 trillion baht (US$40 million) this year, with the domestic market accounting for 58% and international travellers representing 42%. Tourism revenue plummeted 73% from 3 trillion baht in 2019 to 800 billion baht in 2020.

However, international visitors must account for 49% of revenue, in order for TAT to be on track for reaching 2.5 trillion baht in 2022.

Yuthasak believes longhaul travellers could begin arriving April into the kingdom, while those from countries such as China, Japan and South Korea might trickle in later since their governments are discouraging unnecessary travels.

Talks are underway with Emirates, Qatar airlines and other tourism operators to create all-inclusive packages, which might combine today's new normal of vaccine certifications and health insurance, on top of the usual itinerary and accommodations.

Meanwhile, prominent hoteliers in Thailand are also pressing the government to scrap quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have been vaccinated for coronavirus to revive the paralysed tourism industry.

“We should be very quickly allowing people who are safely vaccinated to travel without quarantine,” William Heinecke, chairman of Minor International, told the Financial Times. “There are tremendous numbers of people who won’t come to Thailand, or won’t come to any country that has a quarantine, because it takes too much time.”

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