Tourism business operators as well as the Thai Hotels Association are calling on the government to fully reopen the country to international tourists. Requesting the lifting of government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions by next month.
In an open letter addressed to Thailand’s Prime Minister and the Public Health Minister, the groups said the government should declare Covid-19 endemic and lift all restrictions.
Including the Thailand Pass and Covid-19 testing requirements for international tourists prior to arrival.
The letter said several countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom, had already declared the spread of Covid-19 as an endemic and had cancelled almost all of their coronavirus curbs.
Thailand’s restrictions on tourists under Covid-19 must be further relaxed, or else it will be unable to compete with other nations,” the group warned in the letter, referring to key competitors in the global tourism market like Vietnam and Japan.
As an example in this region, the Philippines cancelled post-arrival Covid-19 tests previously imposed on international visitors on Feb 10.
Additionally, April is an important month for Thailand’s tourism industry since Western tourists usually travel to Thailand during the Easter holidays.
Songkran which kicks off in April usually attracts tens of thousands of foreign tourists.
Tourism figures in Phuket
The letter strongly urges the government to stop repeating RT-PCR Covid-19 tests on foreign tourists on their first and fifth days in the country.
On Feb 1, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) began relaxing Covid-19 restrictions for visitors arriving under the Test & Go program by lifting the mandatory quarantine period and shifting the focus to the tests.
However, to enter Thailand under this scheme, tourists must book a hotel room for their fifth-day testing ahead of their travel.
According to the tourism associations, the number of Covid-19 infections found during second RT-PCR tests was lower when compared with infections found among the local population.
According to figures compiled from Feb 1 to Sunday in Phuket, the infection rate of post-arrival tests was 2.17%, while the rate of infection found in second tests on the fifth day was 3.56%.
The letter said that although these tourists are infected, they are not burdening the country’s healthcare system, as their infection rate is comparable to the common cold.
Symptoms were mild or nonexistent for all foreign tourists who tested positive for Covid-19.
The groups also suggested reducing the quarantine period for infected visitors from 10 to only five days and exempting those at high risk of contracting the disease if they’re cleared in their first infection test.
The Public Health Ministry announced on Friday morning that Thailand had reported 27 more Covid-19 deaths and 18,066 new cases during the previous 24 hours.
Comparatively, 22 Coronavirus-related deaths and 17,349 new cases were reported on Thursday morning.
The number of local cases was 17,898 and the number of imported cases from tourism was 168.
A total of 12,511 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals on Thursday as they recovered from the virus.
Over the course of the pandemic, 2,674,477 cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including 451,042 cases this year, with 2,502,323 complete recoveries.
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