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Thailand is proposing a new strategy to resurrect their struggling tourism industry with an approach that draws inspiration from the nation’s popular redlight districts — by opening the Kingdom’s borders through travel bubble agreements, but only for the most well off individuals and high-end travellers. No money, no honey, and undoubtedly no entry to Thailand, at the least not within the foreseeable future.

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Behind this idea is the tourism minister of Thailand, Pipat Ratchakitprakan, who proposed the concept in an interview on Thursday with Khaosad. He urged that the nation should push for a travel bubble agreement that would allow travel exchanges with countries where the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

The minister added that the nation has to open up its borders – but only for the select, wealthiest visitors.

“High-end travellers on a leisure trip will be allowed to come in first,” Ratchakitprakan stated. “We believe that they will be able to go to destinations such as Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui as early as September”, he explained.

The precise method of how the travellers would be required to showcase their high-end status, or if a hotel booking at a luxurious resort would be a requirement to enter the country, was still left unclear.

“Although we’re currently encouraging Thais to travel domestically, it’s still a difficult situation for entrepreneurs, since foreign tourists contributed to 2 out of 3 trillion baht of the total income,”, he pointed out.

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Minister Ratchakitprakan mentioned the so-called travel bubble agreement is back on the negotiating table after the government gave a green light for four new groups of foreigners to enter the nation. The agreement will play a vital role in rescuing the crippled tourism industry, which heavily relies on foreign tourists, he stated.

The agreement, if authorised, will allow tourism exchanges with certain cities or countries where the coronavirus risk appears to be under control. Countries and territories proposed for consideration include China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Other nations, such as Australia and New Zealand, have also shown interest in participating with the negotiations.

The travel bubble concept received backlash earlier this month when a civil aviation regulator reported a new surge of infections in partner countries.

On Wednesday, the government’s response centre to the pandemic allowed trade fair participants, film production crews, foreign patients seeking treatment in Thailand, and Thailand Elite Cardholders to enter the country on the condition of having to spend 14 days in a state-mandated quarantine facility.

The minister stated he expected to generate at the very least 1.6 billion baht from foreign film sets. Around 10,000 trade show participants are also eyed to return.

Source: Khaosod English

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