Thailand’s inbound ‘Safe and Sealed’ tourism plan is expected to replace travel bubbles for proposed tourism revival in the country, according to the Thai Tourism Ministry.
This latest proposal was offered at a joint meeting of tourism-related departments, including the Tourism and Sports Ministry as well as private tourism operators and was chaired by Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
Foreign tourists will be allowed back into the country under the ‘Safe and Sealed’ scheme while the previous ‘Travel Bubble’ plan is currently on hold, if the proposal that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is planning is approved by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration and Thai Cabinet, both chaired by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha.
Speaking yesterday, Wednesday, August 5, Tourism Minister Phiphat told associated press that the new inbound plan welcomes tourists to restart their trips to Thailand with safer screening and more flexibility for many countries than the bilateral travel bubble scheme would have afforded.
He stated to the press: “Safe means we will select only guests from a city with a record of no Covid-19 coronavirus infections for at least 30 days, and they can travel under the Sealed conditions provided by tour operators in designated hotels and provinces that agree to welcome those tourists. We are looking at tourist islands and locations like Phuket where, if an outbreak took place, the situation could be easily controlled.”
“Other necessary screening processes are still required, such as a Covid-19 infection-free certificate 72 hours before a flight, as well as mandatory insurance and swab tests upon arrival in the Kingdom of Thailand. Other monitoring processes, such as an application to monitor their temperature and other factors may take place.” Phiphat added.
The Pattaya News notes that unlike the travel bubble’s bilateral agreement which only allows visitors from countries at low risk for Covid-19 deemed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the new scheme provides a wider and longer list of infection-free countries and cities that are welcomed, such as New Zealand, Iceland, Cambodia, and large parts of Australia and China.
The new inbound plan is expected to draw at least 500,000 tourists to Thailand and generate 50 billion baht in revenue, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, which would be a sustainable amount in order to prevent a significant majority of tourism-related businesses from falling into bankruptcy. The primary target customer of this, based on statements made, appears to be those who enjoy tour group style vacations with set agendas and attractions.
During the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak, most operators have had zero revenue and the number of unemployed individuals in the tourism sector could grow to 2.5 million if the related businesses are not yet recovered, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry. The Pattaya News adds that a large amount of people employed in the tourism ministry are employed “informally” and official numbers generally don’t include these people, who number in the additional millions and are usually employed in roles such as security, dancers, hostesses, guides, servers and other similar roles.
“Safe and Sealed” is the last possible scheme to avoid layoffs in the fourth quarter in case the country continues to close its borders to international tourists,” Phiphat added.