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Thailand’s Tourist Tracking App Systems Failing to Synchronize

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Hotels in Thailand believe some tourists are avoiding Thailand’s health screening process due to an inadequate tracking App system synchronization, as was the case with the Israeli tourist who quit his hotel in Bangkok.

Kata Karon Hotel Association president Angkana Tanetvisetkul says the system is not synchronised between different authorities responsible for different applications.

A recent incident involving an Israeli tourist who fled a Bangkok hotel could serve as a lesson in preventing such occurrences, she said.

“The authorities should be able to pinpoint someone’s location in real-time without calling hotels to verify if the tracking app is working.”

It was reported by Ms Tanetvisetkul that more than 80% of inbound foreign and Thai travellers could not download the MorChana app. A tracking tool that alerts travellers to take a second Covid test or to be in close contact with Covid patients.

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According to her, Thailand uses three apps, including Thailand Pass, the pre-arrival registration system that should be linked to COSTE, the surveillance platform which the Disease Control Department requires hotels to use for all guest bookings and other information.

If travellers enter the wrong name or passport number during the process, the apps do not synchronize, resulting in a failed MorChana download.

Moreover, the COSTE platform does not support the verification of hotel bookings. This is unlike the SHA Plus Booking Authentication System hotels in Phuket developed to use during the sandbox pilot programme in July. This system could differentiate fake bookings from real ones.

“Given the threat posed by the Omicron variant, state agencies must fix the system so the apps synchronize to strengthen safety measures,” she said.

As a result of malfunctioning systems, hotels have to process all the data manually, which not all hotels are willing to do, she said. There is a potential security gap.

It is imperative that hoteliers have access to a one-stop centre so their problems can be resolved in a timely manner, said Suksit Suvunditkul, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter.

The present check-in process takes more than an hour, and hotel workers assist tourists case-by-case, so the risk of catching an infection increases, said Mr Suksit.

Instead of leveraging technology to track all guests and prevent diseases, he said hoteliers are now manually solving problems.

If guests cannot install MorChana, hotels need to print out QR codes and let them keep a copy, said Mr Suksit.

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