Thailand, a popular Southeast Asian country, is planning to open its tourist spots to sun-hungry Europeans this winter, and the country is striving to save its tourism industry.
The country plans to grant visas to foreigners who wish to stay in Thailand for up to 9 months, said Boon Vanasin, chairman of Thonburi Healthcare Group Pcl. Although the country had closed its borders since March, this new rule could help help the already ailing tourism industry.
Tourists whose visas are issued must undergo a 14-day quarantine and several COVID-19 tests in order to stay at the popular beachfront location in Pattaya. After 3 weeks on the island and negative COVID test results, they can explore other regions of the country.
The government has already approved the plan in principle, but it is finalizing the virus risk reduction measures internally, a spokesman said.
The opening of tourism will help Thailand as tourism is one of the most important industries contributing to the country's GDP and the country Thailand is badly hit by the absence of foreign tourists in the exotic beach resorts of Thailand. Good information is that there has been no case of internal transmission in over 3 months.
This new plan will help millions of European nationals from Germany to Sweden skip the harsh winter months to the warmer Mediterranean regions of Southeast Asian countries. “A lot of seniors don't want to spend their time in a cold, harsh winter. They want tropical weather,” Boon said.
More than 6.7 million Europeans visited Thailand last year, adding over $ 14.7 million to the economy. According to the government, Thailand accounted for up to 17% of all foreign visitors and 24% of spending.
Also, the Thai government is trying to encourage domestic tourism by promoting activities like covering 40% of travel bills, etc. However, 2/3 of all tourists to Thailand live on the island of Phuket.
"We will allow a small number of foreign visitors to test our system first," said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Wednesday. "We have to do something so that the situation doesn't get worse when companies close and people lose jobs."
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