The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is preparing to introduce to the Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) a no-quarantine tourism proposal for fully-vaccinated foreigners under the “One SOP One System” (OSOS) scheme to be implemented this October.
The proposal will be introduced accordingly with the second phase of the government’s country reopening plan on October 1st. The plan will also include five more areas, namely Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Cha-am, and Bangkok. We first reported on the plan likely changing from the previous proposal yesterday here.
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn revealed to the press today, September 14th, that the TAT has come up with the new tourism scheme as the previous requirements were complicated and attracted far fewer foreigners than the authorities expected. This includes, notes TPN Media, the widely criticized plan for Pattaya “Move On”, which many felt was too restrictive and would not benefit most businesses. You can read about this prior proposal here.
“Under this OSOS plan, every province will apply the same SOPs (standard operating procedures) which will allow tourists to travel more freely within designated areas,” he said.
This is, to say the least, a stunning U-turn according to observers online as just 48 hours earlier the TAT had still been pushing the Move On Plan and similar, more restricted, plans.
In layman’s terms, this means a single plan for all five new areas, not five separate plans, simplifying the process. Basically, the plan, in its current proposal, would move from a safe and sealed route (tours) to allowing tourists freedom of movement throughout the entire area, such as Pattaya or Hua Hin. Under the proposal, the tourist would still need to stay at a SHA+ hotel and meet various paperwork, testing, and other requirements but would have freedom of movement, being able to go where they wished, similar to the Phuket Sandbox plan.
TPN media wants to stress this is only a proposal, and still has multiple levels of approval to go through. There is also no guarantee that every sector would be allowed to open, such as bars or entertainment, for the proposal. It is, however, a major improvement over the prior proposal which would have restricted tourists and visitors to a single resort and guided tours of selected attractions.
The new plan also is likely to include the 7×7 plan currently in place in Phuket, allowing tourists to visit different areas after 7 days. You can read more about this portion of the proposal by clicking here.
Additionally, the “Samui Plus Model” will be slightly changed to non-quarantine tourism and allow tourists to travel more freely in the Sealed Area under the new name “‘Samui Plus Sandbox” with the pilot areas of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. This would, essentially, be a program the same as Phuket, with freedom of movement, ditching unpopular sealed routes.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn also stated at a meeting with Chonburi authorities last weekend that domestic travel will be able to start again in October as more vaccines from many authorized manufacturers are scheduled to arrive and be allocated nationwide in September.
The no-quarantine tourism plan will also be planned for provinces or areas that account for at least 15 percent of the total revenue from foreign tourists, including Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Bangkok, Chonburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chiang Mai.
However, it is worth noting that this is only a proposal planned by the TAT and the Tourism and Sports Ministry and must be proposed for approval by multiple agencies like the CESA, CCSA, and the Cabinet Committee. All the measures and requirements are only initial suggestions.
We will provide further details after expected meetings this weekend with the TAT and relevant agencies that would need to approve the plan. We also note that the TAT plans to use data from the Phuket Sandbox showing that foreign tourists are incredibly low risk in terms of having Covid-19 to leverage the proposal.
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