A senior official said on Tuesday, September 29, Thailand will soon receive its first foreign vacationers when a flight from China arrives next week, marking the gradual restart of a vital tourism sector battered by coronavirus travel curbs.
It is reported that it will be about 120 tourists for the first flight which flying directly to the resort island of Phuket said Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
Thailand with 3,559 cases and 59 deaths has kept coronavirus infections low but its economy has taken a hit from a ban on foreign visitors since April and is expected to contract 8.5 percent in 2020.
1,200 tourists in the first month, generating about 1 billion baht (RM131,383) in revenue and 12.4 billion baht (RM1,629,263,147) over one year, bringing in around 14,400 tourists expected by government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul.
Nationalities permitted to enter will be from countries deemed low risk by the government, which will keep tabs on them.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said, “We are not opening the country, we are limiting the number of entries and will manage with wrist bands, apps to follow them,”.
The government predicts only 6.7 million foreign visitors this year after a record of 39.8 million in 2019, whose spending made up about 11.4 percent of GDP, or 1.93 trillion baht (RM 253 billion).
Back in January, Thailand was the first country outside of China to detect the coronavirus, in a visitor from Wuhan.
Yuthasak said, “Tourists will be on a long-stay visa, starting Oct 8 and will stay in alternative state quarantine for 14 days,”.
Those who wanted to travel to Thailand should have health insurance and a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before traveling and will be tested twice in quarantine.
“Thailand’s protection system can prevent a second wave,” government spokeswoman Traisulee said.
“We have prevented local transmission for 100 days before,” she said, adding that they had made Thailand attractive for the visitors who wanted to avoid any kind of infections.
Source: Channel News Asia