Minor International Chairman William Heinecke submitted an open letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, April 18th, urging the Thai government to cancel the ‘Thailand Pass’ entry scheme and ‘Test & Go’ program as soon as possible to help recover the country’s tourism industry.
The Thai government is set to meet later this week to discuss proposals to ease the unpopular programs or even possibly eliminate them altogether, although the latter is a longshot according to many analysts, despite the program’s negative impact on tourism arrival numbers.
Heinecke stated in the letter that although the number of foreign arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport was rising after the cancellation of pre-arrival Covid-19 testing, the daily number of international arrivals was only 11,623 people per day, significantly lower than over 50,000 people per day in April of 2019.
The letter read: “Despite the cancellation of pre-arrival Covid-19 testing, the visitors to Thailand are still required to complete an unnecessary series of steps, including pre-booking RT-PCR tests, prepaid one-night hotel accommodations, mandatory health insurance, and more in order to secure a visa and/or Thailand Pass. Visitors must go through too many requirements before arriving in Thailand compared to many other countries that are now completely open, including nearby Cambodia.”
The Chairman mentioned that many countries which relied on international tourism, such as Singapore, had already revoked complicated entry measures to boost the recovery of domestic tourism and their economies. He advised the Prime Minister to scrap the country’s entry measures, including the ‘Thailand Pass’ and the ‘Test & Go’ program, stating that only a vaccination certificate and/or medical documents to prove the vaccination should be enough.
The statement also highlighted the importance of cooperation between government and private sectors which would help revive the tourism industry and stimulate the economy after the financial hardship of two years of border restrictions, business closures, curfews, and more due to Covid-19 in Thailand.
“(Government and private sectors’) efforts, together with concrete and straightforward communication regarding entry requirements, are crucial for the success of tourism in Thailand,” he added.
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