Thailand was a popular holiday destination with Britons that, like many other countries, has remained off the cards. Despite being popular with backpackers and gap year students, the country has been empty of tourists. Now, Thailand is looking at plans to reopen its borders as it struggles to cope financially without international tourism.
People visiting from abroad account for around two-thirds of the country’s tourism income.
In fact, Thailand welcomed 39.8 million foreign tourists last year but projects as few as 14 million for 2020.
Thailand’s Transport Minister Saksiam Chidchob said in an interview with Bloomberg that the country needs to think about the economy.
They said: “The virus won’t go away soon and we have to think about the economy.
“But we can’t just reopen the borders.
“We have to be careful,”
They added: “Thailand has a limited budget so we have to make sure we can control the disease well.”
The country is looking at allowing tourists to return as soon as October this year.
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The tourists will be from countries with limited infections.
However, they will be required to follow strict rules to track the spread of coronavirus which include wearing a wristband with a GPS tracking system.
Saksiam added that tourists will also have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in a hotel.
The plan is likely to be tested in Phuket before it is rolled out.
Twenty percent of Thailand’s economy comes from tourism.
Around four million people were employed in the tourism sector in Thailand.
Thailand’s government has been trying to encourage people to travel domestically within the country.
They have even said they will pay for 40 percent of travellers’ hotel bills.
The Foreign Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thailand-Malaysia border which include Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and the Southern Songkhla province.
Currently, only certain categories of foreign nationals can enter Thailand.
If you are eligible to enter, you will be subject to 14 days in quarantine at your own expense.
However, the Thailand’s stringent entry requirements mean they have only recorded 3,395 cases and 58 deaths at the time of writing.
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