Bangkok, Thailand. Credit Dan Freeman on Unsplash
More than 20 international tourism companies have launched a campaign calling for the reopening of borders in Thailand from 1st July.
The campaign, #OpenThailandSafely has launched a petition that it intends to support a formal request to the Royal Thai Government that argues that the Covid-19 vaccination programmes underway in Europe, USA and other Thailand tourism source markets will make it safe to welcome larger number of vaccinated tourists.
The campaign highlights that as of 24 February 2021, over 210 million people worldwide have received at least one jab of one of the Covid-19 vaccines. The USA alone administers 1.5 million vaccines per day and projects to have half its population vaccinated by mid-year. The UK already has more than a quarter of its population inoculated, with plans to vaccinate all adults by July. Israel and the United Arab Emirates, including its aviation hub Dubai, have both vaccinated over 50% of their populations.
Early reports also show being vaccinated reduces the risk of spreading the virus. According to the World Health Organization, “Getting vaccinated may also protect people around you because if you are protected from getting infected and from disease, you are less likely to infect someone else.”
Also, the prestigious scientific journal Nature reports that clinical trials and initial studies of those vaccinated are much less likely to spread the virus.
“As Thailand is starting to vaccinate its most vulnerable and its healthcare workers, we believe that now is the time to announce a firm and irreversible date to reopen its borders. This will give confidence to international travellers and encourage them to book a trip to Thailand. Thai tourism operators, especially those reliant on international travel, would then be able to start business planning, accept forward bookings, start to rehire staff, and conduct training programmes.”
“Without a firm commitment to reopening made now, Thailand may lose all of 2021 as travellers will make plans for alternative destinations.”Open Thailand Safely
The letter to the Royal Thai Government is as follows:
The continued closure of international travel has decimated Thailand’s tourism and related industries. It has severely damaged the Thai economy with profound negative effects on hotels, aviation, tour operations, restaurants, attractions, retail, medical tourism, meetings, conferences, agricultural supply chains and many more support sectors.
The financial, social, physical and psychological health of Thai people has been adversely affected. The disruption of travel has not just impacted tourism, but also torn families apart and greatly reduced international trade.
The current situation is unsustainable.
We are therefore seeking a commitment by the Thai Government to reopen borders on 1 July 2021 to let tourists with proof of vaccination enter Thailand without quarantine, because:
- The majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then
- 1 July gives time to Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both front line staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and / or vulnerable citizens around the country, as desired
- 1 July gives international travellers time to make travel plans and bookings
- 1 July gives time to airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales, and get ready for tourism operations to commence
- It will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe a lot longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the Covid-19 crisis.
To ensure the safest reopening of Thailand, international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai Government may require. This may, for example, include showing officially recognised proof of a Covid-19 vaccination from their home country, purchasing health insurance, showing proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure, and so on.
The 1 July reopening would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to show a leadership role among Asian countries and prepare the way for a solid recovery of the Thai economy in 2022.
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