The Thai government continue to work on possible ways to open the country’s tourism industry, following months of shutdown due to Covid-19. The latest solution on the table – a so-called ‘green lane’ – would connect Thailand with Singapore and other regional hubs and kick start the Kingdom’s business travel sector.
The plan, which is similar to Malaysia’s ‘green zones’ bubble strategy, would allow business travellers to move between partner countries. Both the travellers, the destinations and their activities would be subject to strict health and safety protocols. Initial plans would also include travel to regional neighbours Indonesia and Japan.
According to a press release published on Wednesday by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Singapore and Thailand are working to facilitate essential business travel between the two countries, with discussions currently at an advanced stage. A preliminary agreement has already been reached by the permanent secretaries of both nations’ foreign ministries: Chee Wee Kiong from Singapore and Busaya Mathelin from Thailand, during the Singapore-Thailand Political Consultations video conference call held this week.
The meeting also included valuable information sharing sessions, in which technology, infrastructure and strategy for combatting Covid-19 were discussed. Both nations have shared resources such as medical supplies, equipment and Covid-19 diagnostic test kits, as a symbol of their synergy and a sign of their commitment to each other’s cause. According to the statement, both see cooperation between ASEAN nations as essential to a regional Covid-19 recovery, whether collaborating on vaccine development, cooperating over containment, or devising revival strategies.
These new Covid-19 recovery efforts include a commitment to keeping their respective economies ‘open and connected’, while also establishing a framework to deal with future public health emergencies. High on the agenda for both Singapore and Thailand is reopening their countries to international tourism; an objective that is brought more sharply into focus by this latest round of discussions and progress between two of ASEAN’s biggest tourist destinations.