Thailand’s tourism sector calls for relaxation of COVID-19 requirements to boost arrivals

BANGKOK: Tourism organizations in Thailand have urged the government to relax COVID-19 requirements for international visitors in a bid to boost arrivals in time for April’s Easter holidays.

The presidents of 20 tourism associations and councils submitted a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and related officials asking for changes to the government’s COVID-19 protocols for overseas travelers.

Gen Prayut heads the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which sets Thailand’s guidance to control the spread of the coronavirus.

In a letter dated February 16, industry stakeholders urged the CCSA to consider waiving the requirement for international travelers to undergo a second reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test on the fifth day of their stay.

“This is because tourist infection rates on Day 5 are lower than current local infection rates. This will also reduce tourists’ spending,” the letter said.

Other requests include reduced travel insurance from $50,000 to $25,000 and a reduced quarantine period for travelers who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five days.

Currently, travelers who test positive for COVID-19 must remain isolated for 10 days for medical treatment in a hospital, hotel or other quarantine facility.

The tourism companies also asked the CCSA to relax quarantine requirements for high-risk contacts if they test negative for COVID-19 on day one.

“Countries that are our tourism competitors, such as Vietnam and Japan, are preparing to announce the easing of travel restrictions in April.

This easing by various countries has caused Thailand to start losing its tourism competitiveness on a global scale, meaning tourists would prefer to visit countries without such measures rather than coming to Thailand,” the letter said .

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