Thailand to discuss travel bubble agreement with neighboring countries, Tourism Council wants on arrival Covid testing dropped

PHOTO: Prachachat

National –

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is planning to discuss the possibility of a travel bubble initially with China and other ASEAN countries following the resumption of the “Test&Go” scheme this month.

Phiphat revealed to the press yesterday, February 2nd, that he would seek a discussion with China’s Culture and Tourism Ministry regarding the travel bubble agreement, or exchanging tourists without quarantine, during his visit to the Winter Olympics Games in Beijing between February 3rd and the 6th.

He also planned to discuss the scheme with the Malaysian Prime Minister and authorities during their visit to Thailand to meet Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha at the end of February.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn revealed that a total of 35,046 tourists had registered for the Thailand Pass system on the first day of reopening on February 1st. Of that, 31,343 were for the “Test&Go” scheme, 3,290 were for Sandbox, and 413 were for Alternative Quarantine (AQ).

However, about 6,432 names or about 20 percent of the registered were verified via the new Thailand Pass Hotel & Swap System by the hotels they had booked as required by the new Thailand Pass procedures. Therefore, the governor urged the SHA++ hotel operators to verify bookings within 30 hours otherwise the registration will be rejected and tourists must reapply for the application.

PHOTO: Siamrath

Meanwhile, Vichit Prakobkosol, Vice President of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), suggested that the government should consider relaxing more measures for entering the country after one month of the Test&Go resumption to attract more tourists, such as the cancellation of the two RT-PCR tests.

He stated: “The country’s tourism competitors, such as Dubai, Maldives, and Turkey, only stipulated that tourists must be fully vaccinated and have a negative RT-PCR test 72 hours before arrival. And they have significantly revived the tourism business, compared to the pre-pandemic period, while Thailand has recovered only 1 percent of nearly 40 million people in 2019.”

“If the Thai government could consider revoking the RT-PCR test requirements and mandated hotel stays, it was estimated that Thailand could draw about 5-8 million tourists in 2022.” Vichit added.

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National News Writer at The Pattaya News from September 2020 to October, 2022. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.