Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is taking a slow and steady approach to reopening attractions, borders and operations in the wake of Covid-19, favouring small and localised revivals and sector-by-sector lifting of restrictions over a widespread plan for reopening. Global studies have shown this approach is working, with traveller confidence and local preparedness polls putting Thailand on top.
On 21st August, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn announced that Phuket will reopen to international tourists from 5th October, with a 14-day quarantine period imposed on all foreign arrivals. Earlier this month, the deputy governor of TAT confirmed that, although certain locations – like Phuket – are planning to reopen in isolation, travellers should not expect the rest of the country to open its borders before the end of the year.
Recent national studies have indicated Thailand is ready to push forward with its revival. Four out of five (82%) Thai nationals confirmed they are confident that Thailand is well-prepared to reopen its tourism and leisure activities. However, this general positivity has been tempered by caution from officialdom.
Deputy governor for international marketing at TAT, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, has reiterated that Thailand is being “very, very cautious” in its approach and will not open wholesale anytime soon. In a recent statement, he said that there has been “no talk of a timeline issued for reopening the country to inbound or outbound leisure travel during weekly Covid-19 national meetings”. He does not expect international tourists to return en-mass until 2021.
However, the slow and steady approach is making progress. In addition to Phuket’s reopening, a northern hub has also been proposed, which would allow travellers to visit Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. In further good news for visitors to the Land of Smiles, the list of groups currently permitted to enter, under strict health controls, has been expanded from diplomats and UN officials, to include business travellers, investors who have an agreement with the government, film crews, some migrant workers, exhibition personnel and the holders of Thailand Elite visas.
For now, all eyes are on Phuket, where Thailand takes its first steps into a post-pandemic tourism landscape. The hope is that, with the proper controls and safety regulations, Thailand’s slow and steady approach will lead to a safe and successful revival of tourism operations nationwide.
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