Vaccine Passports To Kickstart Tourism in Thailand

Phuket, Thailand. Credit Akash Rai on Unsplash

Thailand is looking at utilising a vaccine passport system to help the recovery of international tourism in the country.

Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn has today announced that the Public Health Ministry has been asked for approval for the scheme once the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued more information on vaccine passports.

The tourism sector, which accounted for almost 20% of GDP prior to the pandemic is increasingly reporting that significant closures and job losses are on the horizon if tourists do not start to return soon.

Foreign visitors can visit Thailand already but the mandatory 14-day quarantine is seen as a major deterrent and very foreign tourists have entered the country since the scheme began.

It was rumoured that quarantine may continue until the Thai vaccine programme had vaccinated significant numbers of the population. Thailand started its Covid-19 vaccination programme yesterday but it may take until early 2022 for significant numbers of Thai’s to have received the vaccination.

A vaccine passport, enabling visitors to skip quarantine, is therefore seen as an important measure to help open the borders and welcome more tourists. It is thought that the scheme may help to attract 5 million foreign tourists this year, still a fraction of the 39 million in 2019.

There are a number of significant hurdles that would need to be overcome before a vaccine passport could be introduced.

Any vaccine passport will need to be secure preventing forged records as well as ensuring that personal data is secure. We have written more about these schemes in our coverage of the IATA Travel Pass that is being rolled out by a number of airlines in the coming weeks.

At the moment there are a significant number of vaccine recording schemes in development. A clear consensus and protocol need to be in place to ensure that each scheme complies with set standards to ensure that they are robust and trustworthy. Would Thailand pick one or a number of schemes for approval or would they want their own system in place?

Source The Nation Thailand

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