Bringing back tourists and the local economy . . .
Thailand will begin reopening its borders to foreign visitors later this month. The Thai economy is highly dependent on tourism, and since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been struggling to fill the 40 million international visitor-sized gap in its economy. A group of 150 Chinese tourists will be the first international visitors since international recreational air travel ground to a halt earlier this year. If all goes well with the first cohort of Chinese tourists, two more flights – one carrying passengers from China, another from Europe – are set to arrive shortly after.
Slowly does it . . .
Thailand plans to allow a limited number of international travellers initially and monitor their whereabouts through wristbands and mobile phone apps. Only travellers from countries deemed low risk will be allowed to enter and will be required to spend the first 14 days of their visit quarantined in a hotel. With only 59 COVID-19 deaths recorded across the country since the start of the pandemic, Thailand is trying to position itself as a safe and secure choice for those eager to travel to warmer climates this winter.
Projecting an image of reassurance . . .
At the same time as Thailand positions itself as a secure health choice, its tourism has recently made international headlines with the mid-September arrest of an American working in the country. Under Thailand’s strict anti-defamation law, the man has been accused of leaving harmful TripAdvisor reviews of a hotel he visited. If found guilty, he could face up to two years in Thai prison and a fine of nearly C$7,000. As Thailand restarts its tourism-led economy, the question is what type of safety visitors will prioritize.
- Asia Times: Thailand to allow ‘low risk’ tourist flights
- Bangkok Post: High-risk tourists barred from visit
- Bloomberg: Thailand tourism body pushes for open borders with some nations