Sunday, November 28, 2021

Thai tourism prepares to welcome back foreign tourists

Thailand has launched an ambitious plan to reopen its borders to tourists. The hospitality industry has been ravaged by travel restrictions since March 2020 when drastic measures were taken to slow the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The November 1 opening is the latest attempt to restart a sector that represented 20% of gross domestic product before the pandemic struck. 

Throughout Southeast Asia, governments have been extremely cautious in their approach to dealing with coronavirus, rapidly imposing restrictions and lockdowns designed to support their zero transmission policies.

Thailand was no exception. But in the last couple of months, Bangkok has also been among the first countries to talk about the need for reopening, beginning with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 120-day plan to fully reopen announced in June. 

Earlier attempts, including the Phuket Sandbox scheme — which has been more popular with returning Thais and local residents than with tourists — fell far short of initial projections.

However, the implementation of the plan was a learning experience in how to open a destination safely, taking into account the concerns of local residents and the imperatives of restarting a key sector of the economy. 

Since November 1, Thailand has opened more…

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Thailand Business News is a comprehensive news service about Thailand with a business and financial perspective edited in Bangkok by Siam News Network

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