With Thailand's inoculation campaign finally moving along, the inbound international tourism sector has wasted no time in launching the #OpenThailandSafely campaign on 2 March, lobbying the government to drop quarantines and reopen the country by 1 July.
More than 15 tour operators and hoteliers in Thailand have signed the petition urging the Royal Thai Government to respond favourably to destinations with Covid-19 vaccination programmes underway, such as in Europe, the US and other tourism source markets.
Led by Bangkok-based private sector travel companies Yaana Ventures, Minor Group and Asian Trails, the petition has been signed by the likes of Exo and Capella Hotels and Resorts, and is open to anyone in Thailand or globally who wish to see the country reopen.
According to the tourism voices behind the campaign, 1 July was picked for five reasons.
One, the majority of citizens in many source markets would have been vaccinated by then.
Two, the date allows enough time for Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both frontline staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and/or vulnerable citizens around the country.
Three, international travellers will too have sufficient time to make travel plans and bookings.
Four, the date gives time to airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales and get ready for tourism operations to commence.
And finally, it will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the Covid-19 crisis.
“The 1 July reopening would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to show a leadership role among Asian countries and prepare the way for a solid recovery of the Thai economy in 2022," said Willem Niemeijer, CEO of Yaana Ventures.
In the coming days, the #OpenThailandSafely team will be sending the 1 July border reopen request officially to Thailand prime minister general Prayut Chan-o-cha, the minister of tourism and sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn.
On Sunday, 28 February, Thai authorities administered China's Sinovac Biotech for those aged between 19 to 59. The country is expected to take delivery of another 1.8 million doses of CoronaVac this and next month.
The call-to-action may have been accelerated following news of several destinations which have or are contemplating reopenings as well as removing mandatory quarantines, such as Maldives, Greece, Israel, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.
In the past seven months, foreign visitor arrivals have dropped almost 75%, shaving 1.6 trillion baht (US$53 billio) or 10% off of GDP. Thailand has also recently embarked on a creative recovery plan to kickstart its tourism industry, including turning to ‘high-value tourists’.
Link to #OpenThailandSafely here.