Vaccinated tourists could soon enter Thailand without quarantining

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Thailand reopened its borders to most foreign visitors in October 2020. However, strict quarantine rules have deterred most visitors from travelling there. 

Thailand’s tourism industry is now calling for the easing of quarantine requirements to attract visitors who have been vaccinated.

Traveller reports that Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has said his government is considering allowing international visitors who produce COVID-19 vaccination certificates to skip mandatory quarantines.

THAILAND’S LOW NUMBER OF INFECTIONS

If implemented, the move could help Thailand’s economy bounce back.  Revenue from tourism accounted for about a fifth of the nation’s pre-pandemic economy.

“If this goes ahead as planned, it will be a big boost to tourism and economy,” said economist Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, of the Kasikorn Research Centre in Bangkok.

Thailand has succeeded in keeping its coronavirus cases low. It has recorded just over 26,000 infections and only 84 deaths to date. This success can be attributed to tight border controls and strict quarantine requirements.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF TOURISM

The absence of international visitors is weighing heavily on the South East Asian country. Thailand welcomed more than 40 million tourists in 2019. In 2020, its revenue from tourism dropped by 83% as the number of tourists dropped from 40 million in 2019 to 6.7 million.

Reduced tourist arrivals pose a risk to the country’s economic growth. Thailand’s Central Bank Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said it would be extremely difficult for the Thai economy to return to pre-pandemic levels without a bounce-back in tourism.

COUNTRY DESPERATE FOR TOURISM

“There is still a very high uncertainty on the economic outlook this year, pending all the issues related to the outbreak from local infections, vaccine rollouts and border reopening plan,” Triratanasirikul said, according to Traveller.

Thailand’s economy contracted in 2020 to levels last seen in 1998. The return of tourists would greatly help Thailand bounce back.

VACCINATION ROLLOUT TO BEGIN IN THAILAND

Thailand has procured 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for its population. The vaccines will be locally produced by Siam Bioscience.

The country will launch its national vaccination programme this week adn aims to vaccinate 50% of its population by the end of 2021.

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Original Article Posted on The South African