Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

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Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Gaybutton »

Seems like a harebrained scheme to me, but here it is. Let us know if any of you are going to do this.
_______________________________________________________________________________________

More details on Thailand to allow long-stay visits for limited foreign tourists in Phuket in October

By Nop Meechukhun

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Phuket will be the first destination to allow limited foreign tourists to visit for longer stays starting this October, the Minister of Tourism and Sports said yesterday, August 21.

This tourism agenda was operated under a proposal called the “Phuket Model” which is a New Normal style of tourism that provides limited travel access with a limited number of tourists.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn added: “For example, a group of tourists might first want to travel to Patong Beach. They would be allowed to stay in the alternative state quarantine area within a radius of 1 kilometer with tracking for 14 days. And when they were done, they would be tested for COVID-19. If the results did not detect any sign of infection, then they would be able to leave the confined space. They would be required to be tested for Covid-19 before and after flying and within the first few days of their stay. They would also need to have proper health insurance and a fit to fly certificate. The quarantine proposal would not be trapped in a room but think of it rather as access to an all inclusive resort during the period.”

If certain tourists also planned to travel to other provinces in Thailand, they must stay in Phuket for another 7 days, which makes it a total of 21 days, in order to retest the infection before they could travel again to other provinces in Thailand, according to the Minister. Hotel staff would also need to be tested on a regular basis and quarantine before leaving the island.

“Phuket Model” is expected to proceed on October 1. Meanwhile, Phiphat and other authorities with the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Transport, and Ministry of Interior would visit Phuket for surveying and developing several tourism landmarks to make them ready for the city reopening.

This proposal will also be a trial balloon before potentially launching it in other famous tourist attractions across the country, including Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, Chanthaburi, Rayong, Surat Thani, Krabi, and Bangkok. Chonburi and Pattaya have also been listed as an area of possibility.

“We must primarily monitor the situation and general feedback from the Phuket Model and see if tourists and locals were happy about the reopening or not. If either of them disapproved, then we would reject and would not apply the idea.”

“But if it was running nicely in October, then the authorities might consider in applying the same model onto other provinces in order to stimulate the tourist industry which was currently most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”Phiphat concluded.

It is noted that no clear information on International flights or how to sign up for the program were stated. The tourism ministry did not specifically speak about countries that would apply or if it would be presumably open to everyone.

Reaction to the announcement has been mixed but it is important to note the goal for this program is to start bringing people back carefully and cautiously. The program is NOT focused on short stay tourists but those who plan to stay longer or traditionally spend several months a year in the country. It could potentially be a way for those who are on a retirement visa or have property in Thailand or have children or a significant other but not a proper visa to return.

The proposal is initially approved in principle but The Pattaya News notes that the plan could be revised or changed many times before any final release or final approval. The next steps will likely see discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand and the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration to determine who will be able to return and how.

More details should be released in the next several weeks.

https://thepattayanews.com/2020/08/22/m ... n-october/

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by gerefan »

I would be very interested in this, for my 90 day stay this November, but only if there was a scheme in Pattaya. Presumably it would only entail 14 days quarantine as I have no intention of going elsewhere initially.

I would certainly not be interested in doing 3 weeks in Phuket.

As an aside what has the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand got to do with any of this? Their job, like the UK CAA or the US FAA, should be to independently regulate aviation safety, not decide policy on a virus or infections. That should be down to the medical people.

Equally, the opening and closing of borders should be none of the CAA’s business. It’s government policy.

Imagine if closing of the US border was delegated to the FAA!

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Gaybutton »

The article says, "The program is NOT focused on short stay tourists but those who plan to stay longer or traditionally spend several months a year in the country."

Even if this scheme works and enough people want to do it, that still doesn't help most people reading this board because most go to Thailand for a short term holiday - usually 2 or 3 weeks. But if nothing else, at least it's a beginning of opening the door. However, I am convinced that those who are looking for a short term holiday will still have quite a long wait before it becomes possible.

We're in what is being termed a "new normal". But we have yet to see just what that new normal eventually will turn out to be and what Thailand will require - including what new normal may be required of us expats already living here. We simply cannot be certain about what to expect.

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Up2u »

Another article, this time from CNN......

Thailand floats plan to welcome back international tourists in October

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/thai ... index.html

Bangkok (CNN) — Hope is on the horizon for travelers wanting to spend their upcoming winter holidays in Thailand -- provided they're willing to spend several weeks in the kingdom and only stick to designated areas.
During a public forum held late last week, Thailand's Minister of Tourism Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the country is aiming to allow foreign tourists to enter the country through a program dubbed "Safe and Sealed.".......... (more)

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Gaybutton »

Up2u wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:49 am
Another article, this time from CNN......
I suppose that might work out for some if Bangkok and Pattaya are among the places available to go. I just hope those who wish to travel to Thailand will be able to easily do so much sooner than I think.

Some seem to believe us expats don't want farang travelers to be able to return to Thailand. Nothing could be further from the truth (except for when Trump says anything). I think I am speaking for many when I say we do want you back - for many reasons. It's the hordes of Chinese tour buses I, for one, can do without. I won't complain if they never come back, but I believe before we see large numbers of farang coming back, Thailand is going to have to make it much easier for them and will also have to dispense with this nonsense about everything closing at midnight.

I believe the main reason farang come to Pattaya is for the nightlife. If the powers-that-be make it easy for farang to enter Thailand, go where they want, and leave the entertainment venues alone to set their own opening and closing hours, that is the best chance for saving Thailand's tourist industry. Over-regulation, especially with little or no sensible justification for it - I don't see how that can work.

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by gerefan »

Gaybutton wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:17 am
If the powers-that-be make it easy for farang to enter Thailand, go where they want, and leave the entertainment venues alone ...... Over-regulation, especially with little or no sensible justification for it - I don't see how that can work.
Haha, exactly what I said, more or less, 4 months ago when I said “ If Pattaya is reopened for the next high season, I sincerely hope Thailand does not ruin it by inventing impossible travel restrictions.”

https://www.gaybuttonthai.com/viewtopic ... 82#p101182

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Gaybutton »

gerefan wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:57 pm
“If Pattaya is reopened for the next high season, I sincerely hope Thailand does not ruin it by inventing impossible travel restrictions.”
And yet that is precisely what the Thai powers-that-be has done - and I'm not so sure they're wrong. Many have pointed out that Thailand needs to make a choice - continuing to protect the country from the Covid-19 virus or trying to rescue the tourist industry. It seems to be a one or the other decision - no gray area, and it's a damned if they do, damned if they don't type of decision.

To me, what I see going on is similar to that old Jack Benny routine when he is mugged at gunpoint and the criminal says, "Your money or your life."
No response from Jack Benny.
The criminal repeats it. "I said your money or your life!"
Jack Benny: "I'm thinking it over."

I think most of us have our opinions about which way Thailand ought to go. Mine is I don't think Thailand should jeopardize people's health for the sake of business. However, it does seem to me that Thailand can come up with viable solutions that are minimal health risk. Of course, since there really is no way to guarantee that such solutions would successfully prevent a second outbreak and second national shutdown, the question is how much risk is worth it.

For the time being, I don't see any alternative to the 14-day quarantine. That poll back in June indicated the Thais did not want foreign tourists allowed back in despite the financial difficulties. That is the most recent poll I've seen and I have seen nothing to indicate that the Thai majority opinion has changed.

Thailand is currently trying to focus on domestic tourism rather then foreign tourism. That doesn't sound to me like a major interest or effort for opening the country to foreign tourism any time soon. And another point is once Thailand opens the doors, will there be sufficient foreign tourist numbers to rescue the industry?

I doubt anyone needs me to tell them if they do go to Thailand, and while in Thailand a second outbreak occurs, then Thailand will quickly slam the doors shut again and foreigners in Thailand might yet again find themselves stranded in Thailand without any way to return home. How many of you would take that risk?

Unless Thailand finds a truly safe way to open the country to foreign tourism, I still think it will be a very long time before most farang reading this board who currently are not in Thailand will be able to go to Thailand again.

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Gaybutton »

The last sentence in the article says it all for me: "The prime minister did not say how tourists would be persuaded to come here."

Good question.
_______________________________________________

PM: We need foreign tourists for sake of local economy

Welcoming mat will include strict disease controls

26 Aug 2020

Thailand needs to attract foreign tourists back and have a welcoming system of disease control in place, so local people can start earning money again, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday.

The return of foreign visitors would begin with only a limited number of arrivals, to test the country's disease control measures, which would be comprehensive, he said.

He sought to allay concerns that tourists coud bring with them a new wave of coronavirus disease. Gen Prayut said the government would not let visitors arrive as they pleased.

"There will be forms to fill in. Flights must be traceable. When they reach their destinations their whereabouts will have to be confirmed and they will be isolated from others," the prime minister said.

Gen Prayut said the return of tourists was essential for the country.

"If nothing is done, things will get worse. Premises will be shut down. Employees will be laid off. How can the government afford to help them all?" he said.

He gave an assurance that visitors would be monitored, and said he hoped that local people would welcome them back.

"Local people must take care (of the visitors) because the benefits will go to them, not the government," Gen Prayut said.

"Please rest assured that if (the disease) is detected, we will be able to contain it," he said.

The prime minister said officials were drafting procedures for handling arriving tourists and considering which would be the first destination to receive them.

The biggest economic impact has been on the provinces that used to get a large number of foreign tourists, he said.

The prime minister did not say how tourists would be persuaded to come here.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/19 ... al-economy

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by Gaybutton »

Long-stay visits possible this winter

Healthcare magnate Boon Vanasin says stays of up to nine months could be allowed

29 Aug 2020

Authorities are finalising a plan that would make it possible for retired, sun-seeking foreigners to spend the coming winter months in Thailand in an effort to save the ailing tourism industry, says a prominent hospital executive.

Although the country’s borders have been closed to most foreigners since late March to fight the pandemic, the government is proposing to grant visas to foreigners who want to stay in Thailand for up to nine months, said Boon Vanasin, chairman of Thonburi Healthcare Group Plc, the country’s third largest private hospital firm, which runs hospitals and retirement homes.

These long-term visitors would begin their stay with a mandatory 14-day quarantine and frequent virus tests in of Phuket. After three weeks on the island and negative test results, they would be free to travel to other regions of the country, according to Dr Boon, who said he has direct knowledge of the government’s plan and expects the arrivals to begin before winter.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn reiterated on Saturday that he supported the idea of a long-stay tourist visa for selected groups.

Speaking at a news conference during a tour arranged for several ambassadors in Samut Prakan, Mr Phiphat said the initial visa would be for 90 days and could be extended twice more for a total of 270 days.

Traisulee Traisoranakul, deputy spokeswoman in the Prime Minister’s Office, said earlier that while the government had approved the plan in principle, it is still finalising measures to reduce the risk of virus infections.

The opening-up would offer a lifeline to the devastated tourism and hospitality industry, which is struggling to survive after five months without foreign visitors. Although Thailand has been one of the world’s most successful countries in curbing Covid-19 — it has not had a locally transmitted case for more than three months — the tourism-reliant economy has been one of the worst-hit globally, projected to shrink by a record 8.5% this year.

On Saturday, the country reported one imported coronavirus infection.

The move comes as other economies dependent on tourism — from Bali in Indonesia to Hawaii in the United States — grapple with the pandemic, which has brought global travel to a virtual halt. Bali had planned to start allowing foreigners to return on Sept 11 but the Indonesian government this week said no foreign tourists would be allowed until the start of 2021.

Reopening to tourists has led to the resurgence of infections in some places such as the Caribbean island of Aruba, and governments are fearful of striking the wrong balance between public health and economic revival.

The new plan being studied in Thailand would make it possible for millions of seniors from European countries like Germany and Sweden, who usually spend their winter months in warmer Mediterranean climates, to consider Thailand instead as it is safe from infection risk, said Dr Boon.

He said his company had fielded queries from European retirement communities that could amount to 50,000 seniors making the journey to Thailand for the coming winter.

Dr Boon plans to partner with hotels to provide quarantine facilities and long-term accommodation for senior citizens and other long-stay visitors, who could arrive via chartered flights before winter begins.

Thai Airways International said it would operate at least two such flights a month starting in late November to connect Phuket with countries including Denmark, Germany and the UK.

“Many seniors don’t want to spend their time in a cold harsh winter. They want tropical weather,” said Dr Boon. Around 90% of Thonburi Healthcare Group’s customers before the pandemic were international.

But it’s unclear if the government intends to let so many foreigners in. On Thursday, the deputy army chief said officials were considering plans to reopen to long-stay visitors and foreigners who own local property, but this would amount to only “hundreds” of people.

The economy is in desperate need of a boost. Before the pandemic, European tourists would vacation in Phuket and surrounding areas for between two weeks to two months, said Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association.

More than 6.7 million Europeans visited Thailand in 2019 and contributed 461 billion baht to the economy, according to government data. They made up about 17% of total foreign visitors and 24% of total foreign spending.

“Phuket’s economy needs foreign demand to bounce back but we also have to balance infection risks and the economy,” said Mr Bhummikitti.

The government has been trying to promote domestic tourism with a campaign to foot 40% of travellers’ hotel bills, but local spending alone can’t compensate for a loss of foreigners. In Phuket, foreign visitors accounted for two-thirds of overall tourists but contributed to 90% of its tourism receipts.

“We’ll allow a small number of foreign visitors into the country first to test our system,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday. “We have to do something so that the situation doesn’t get worse with businesses closing down and people losing jobs.”

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... his-winter
_______________________________________________________________________

Phuket designated as pilot province to welcome foreign tourists starting October 1

By Pattaya Mail

August 29, 2020

The government has designated Phuket as a pilot province for the welcoming of foreign tourists again, to help stimulate the country’s economy, after the COVID-19 situation subsides. Starting on October 1st this year, all tourists entering Thailand and Phuket will be required to follow health and safety protocols.

With the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) having eased the entry restrictions for travelers from 11 countries, the Vice Governor of Phuket, Pichet Panapong, said the island is now making preparations and having discussions with related sectors about rolling out all the precautionary measures.

Travelers arriving from abroad, who want to enter Phuket, must carry a permit issued by a Thai embassy, a health certificate stating that there is no risk of COVID-19, issued within 72 hours of travel to the kingdom, and health insurance issued by the country of origin.

Once foreign visitors arrive in Phuket, they have to undergo a 14-day quarantine in one of the designated hotels before they can visit other places. The province will test the operations of hotels, medical teams and security officers, to make sure that they can perform their duties effectively and in accordance with the CCSA’s protocols.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said the “Phuket Model” is tourism in the new normal, which allows foreign travelers to visit limited parts of Thailand. Initially, they will be able to visit beaches within a one-kilometre radius. After completing the 14-day quarantine, they will have to take another COVID-19 test. If the results are negative, they can visit other locations in the province.

If they want to visit other provinces in Thailand, they are required to be quarantined for seven more days, or 21 days in total. They are required to undergo a virus test again before they can travel to other provinces.

https://www.pattayamail.com/thailandnew ... r-1-312840

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Re: Here's a way you might be able to go to Thailand - but would you want to do this?

Post by gera »

For this plan to succeed they need to make a couple of changes, IMHO. First, they need to concentrate on countries with bad covid situation. A good example would be India. I am pretty sure a lot of wealthy Indians would love to escape from the country where the situation gets worse by the day. With proposed quarantine measures there is very low risk that somebody infected will be able to percolate through the system. On the contrary, I doubt it will attract many Chinese who are on average typically stay about 10 days in Thailand. Secondly, they need to resume regular commercial flights perhaps with low frequency initially. These flights should be totally separated from repatriation flights on which a lot of infected Thais return. And business class accommodations (along with rigorous requirements described in the article applied to every passenger on the flight) should be available. if they want to attract wealthy , old people they need to make sure that the flight itself is comfortable and safe.

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