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  • Tourism Reopening Delay | Bangkok - Pattaya .....

    5 Provinces delay Reopening until November 2021

    Despite some local leaders pushing hard and claiming readiness to reopen on October 1, several or all of the 5 provinces scheduled to reopen may be delayed until November 01. 2021 with Chiang Mai especially cautious about reopening. The deputy director for communications and marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand pointed out that the reopening plan can only go ahead in provinces where 70% of the population has been vaccinated.

    The TAT recently held a meeting with the Public Health Ministry in a working group to assess the situation surrounding reopening before the proposal was formally submitted to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The group had concerns over the vaccination levels in the provinces, as well as the Covid-19 situation throughout Thailand, with daily infections still over 10,000.

    Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Bangkok were all scheduled to welcome back international tourists on October 1 according to the reopening plans. Pattaya City’s mayor announced that they were ready for the reopening though prepared to accept a delay. But Bangkok’s mayor already insisted they will not be reopening until infection and hospitalisation numbers decrease and vaccinations numbers increase. Now only 30% of the province’s 60,000 hotel rooms are open for business while others wait for the programme to restart.

    Chiang Mai has been particularly cautious about reopening as the winter months are traditionally much more popular with domestic tourists than international ones. They have focused on the domestic market as the third phase of the We Travel Together hotel subsidising programme is set to continue in October.

    Foreign travellers are expected to start to return when international flights resume to Chiang Mai in January of next year as long as demand is there for flights to operate. Korean golfers are expected to bolster international tourism to the region. Until then, Chiang Mai will cautiously reopen using the 7+7 extension program connected to the Phuket Sandbox at first to test the waters, whether on October 1 or November 1.

  • #2
    Tourism Operators angry as re-opening postponed to November 2021

    Tourism operators have expressed frustration as Thailand’s re-opening is pushed back a month, primarily due to inadequate vaccination levels. The re-opening of Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, and Phetchaburi has been postponed from October 1 to November 1. According to a Bangkok Post report, this is the third time the re-opening of Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Hua Hin has been delayed, with vaccine shortages being the reason given each time.

    Thai Air Asia’s largest shareholder, Asia Aviation, has expressed frustration at the delay, with executive chairman Tassapon Bijleveld saying the flip-flopping is damaging the country’s reputation.

    “Airlines had started to invest in service maintenance and recruit staff to prepare for a new flow of tourists. It costs a lot for any business to restart, particularly during a liquidity crisis when every baht counts.”
    Tassapon has criticised the government for insufficient vaccine supplies in areas poised to re-open, adding that officials should have properly evaluated the curve of the pandemic and prepared risk management plans for each area before confirming a re-opening date.

    “If the government announced earlier that the country would be ready for inbound tourists in December or even January, we would have no objection. We would have shifted our focus to the domestic market in the final quarter with full force. The flip-flop worsens a situation which is already somehow at its worst, particularly regarding our financial stability.”
    Thanet Supornsahasrungsi from the Chon Buri Tourism Council agrees, pointing out that tourism operators in Pattaya have made all the preparations for an October re-opening, in line with government orders. He says the only thing they couldn’t do was provide residents with vaccines, as he too slammed the authorities for an inadequate vaccine rollout. He says the country’s reputation with overseas tour operators is ruined.

    “Nobody will listen to us again. They will wait for an official announcement, which may occur in November at the earliest, too late to capture high-season traffic as international flights often need 2 – 3 months’ notice for air traffic permission. It also takes that long to promote those packages.”


    • #3
      Thailand’s reopening divided into 4 phases

      Thailand is looking toward the future as the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced yesterday its plan to gradually reopen the country. The CCSA’s plan consists of 4 phases that take into consideration tourism revenue, geography, and Covid preventive measures.
      • Pilot phase: October 01 - October 31
        Phuket, Surat Thani, including Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao islands. Phang Nga, including Khao Lak coastal area and Koh Yao island. Krabi, including Koh Phi Phi and Koh Ngai islands, Railay, Khlong Muang and Tub Kaak beaches. Also included in the Pilot Phase are the Phuket and Samui Sandbox programmes that were previously launched over the last couple of months.
      • Phase 1: November 01 - 30
        Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Prachuap Khiri Khan, including Hua Hin and Nong Kae subdistricts. Phetchaburi, including the Cha-am district. Chonburi, including Pattaya City, Jomtien and Bang Saray subdistricts. Ranong, including Koh Phayam. Chiang Mai, including Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao districts. Loei, including the Chiang Khan district. Buriram, including the Muang district.
      • Phase 2: December 01 - 31
        Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Phrae, Nong Khai, Sukhothai, Phetchabun, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Trat, Rayong, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Yala and Narathiwat.
      • Phase 3: January 2022 - TBD.
        Surin, Sa Kaeo, Chanthaburi, Tak, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Bueng Kan, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Nan, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Satun.


      • #4
        November reopening to international tourists predicts 1.5 Trillion THB

        Bangkok and areas in 4 key provinces are set to reopen on November 1 and the government is predicting that will lead to 1.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue for 2022. The goal is to open without quarantine restrictions for international tourists, barring any unforeseen surge in Covid-19 infections too dire to contain.

        A government spokesperson said that a total of 10 areas will be reopening to international tourists in November including 4 in Chiang Mai province, 3 in Chon Buri, and one each in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi.

        “These places will be reopened provided there are no big or serious infection clusters between now and November 01. 2021 The other conditions for visitors are that they must be fully jabbed and test negative for Covid-19 before arrival.”
        In Chiang Mai, Doi Tao, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, and Muang are slated to reopen to international tourists, while Chon Buri is focused on reopening Pattaya City, Bang Lamung and Sattahip. In Prachuap Khiri Khan, Hua Hin, where the Chiva-Som International Health Resort was recently named the top spa resort in the world by Conde Nast readers, is set to reopen on November 1, along with Cha-am in Phetchaburi province.

        And of course, Bangkok is a primary focus. The densely populated capital city has had the most Covid-19 infections and deaths as it struggles to contain the pandemic, but also is the hub of incoming international travellers to Thailand, with the spokesperson highlighting its importance.

        “Although tourists may prefer to go to the sea or mountains, almost all of them have to visit Bangkok at least once on their trips to the country.”
        The ever-optimistic government predicts that these reopenings will herald in floods of tourists, domestic and international, along with 1.5 trillion baht of tourism revenue. They predict 850 Billion THB from domestic tourists forecast to take 160 million trips next year, along with 650 Billion THB from an estimated 15 million international tourists.

        That goal amounts to less than half of the 3.4 Trillion THB tourism brought in before Covid-19 in 2019 when 40 million international tourists flocked to Thailand. But it’s a huge leap from the faltering Sandbox reopenings that have trickled in about 2.33 Billion THB this year, with just over 43,000 travellers entering Phuket and a mere 1,069 travellers entering the Samui Plus and 7+7 extension programmes.

        Some government officials are extremely optimistic and having already wet dreams when it comes to tourism reopenings and total revenue. The 7-day quarantine will remain in place and not very many travelers are keen to comply with it. Phuket created similar high expectation but at the end the predicted figures did not came even close to the actual number of tourists arrived. Thus, international punter destinations such as Pattaya wont get back to normality soon either because most red light venues are either closed or bankcrupt after 1.5 years. Accordingly, Thailand is not as attractive as it has been before anymore. It is also most likely that other destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia get a fair share too because they plan to reopen at the same time.
        Last edited by Steve; 10-10-2021, 03:09 PM.


        • #5
          Chiang Mai ready to re-open despite new cluster of infections

          The governor of Chiang Mai says the province is ready for the planned November 1 re-opening to foreign tourists. Despite a new cluster of infections being detected at the large market of Talad Muang Mai, Prajon Pratsakul insists the northern province is ready to re-open. The Bangkok Post reports that 478 Covid-19 cases have been traced to the market, which has been closed for deep cleaning between October 9 and 22. Customers and other close contacts of the market are in quarantine.

          Chiang Mai officials are also in a rush to roll out more vaccine doses, in order to meet the goal of 70% vaccinated ahead of the November 1 re-opening date. Today, the CCSA meets to discuss several proposals, including allowing fully vaccinated tourists from “low risk” countries to enter Thailand without quarantine. As travel restrictions are also lifted within Thailand, domestic tourism is expected to increase. The percentage of vaccinated Chiang Mai residents is currently 60%, according to Prajon.

          According to the Bangkok Post report, Prajon expects his entire province to re-open on November 01. 2021 and not just the districts previously specified as part of the sandbox scheme. However, he adds that access to areas with high infection rates will be off-limits to visitors.

          Meanwhile, on the southern island of Phuket, governor Narong Woonciew expects a significant increase in tourist numbers during the forthcoming peak season. He has voiced concern about Phuket’s ability to test them all as currently the maximum number of people who can be tested for Covid-19 is set at 500 per day.


          • #6
            Krabi Tourism | Businesses not thrilled about Thailand’s reopening

            A prominent local tourism operator in Krabi is speaking out, saying the tourism businesses in Krabi don’t like or want the reopening Thailand has planned for November 1. He asserts that interest from tourists, businesses that can afford to reopen, and vaccinations among locals are all lacking.

            The operator said that despite the government’s rosy predictions, he fears that not as many international travellers will be flocking to Thailand in its current state. With bars and activities banned, along with many small businesses closed either temporarily or permanently, there’s not much to attract tourists in any meaningful numbers to Krabi.

            “We have had domestic tourists come and complain there is absolutely nothing to do because nightlife and entertainment are still mandated closed and many business owners won’t open unless the situation dramatically improves.”
            Convenience stores are still open to grab a beer, but no social drinking is allowed as bars and clubs are closed and restaurants can’t legally sell alcohol. Add to that the huge amount of small businesses on Koh Phi Phi, Mueang Krabi, and other formerly lively tourist hotspots that have run out of savings and don’t have the money, stock or staffing to suddenly spring back to life, and you’re left with a semi-ghost town dismal vibe.

            So with businesses shuttered and tourist numbers likely to be much lower than the overly-optimistic predictions, why risk the health and safety of Krabi residents? Only 31% of residents in the province have been vaccinated – just under 152,000 out of over 600,000 locals. Reopening plans have repeatedly called for 70% vaccination rates for provinces to be reopened, but have seemed to gloss over the failures to meet this target as the drum beats louder and louder on the march to reopening.

            With two-thirds of people in the province unvaccinated, daily infections still on the rise, and severe Covid-19 infections, even some leading to death, still occurring in the province, the tourism operator may be right, and Krabi may not be welcoming the idea of welcoming tourists in the immediate future.


            • #7
              Dusit Poll: Thailand is not ready for International Reopening

              A new poll from Suan Dusit Rajabhat University expresses the majority opinion that Thailand is not ready for a reopening to international tourism. The Suan Dusit Poll was conducted October 11 to 14 with 1,329 people from all over Thailand responding online. The poll was conducted to gauge the people of Thailand’s feelings about PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announcing that the country would undertake a large reopening on November 1, less than 2 weeks from now.

              When the poll administers asked respondents the more vague question of if Thailand is ready to reopen to international travellers without any quarantine requirement, and when asked the more specific question of if November 1 was the right date to commence this reopening, the answer was nearly identical.

              For both questions, 60% of the poll respondents said no and 40% said yes, indicating that the majority of Thai people don’t think November 1 is the right time to reopen and further believe that the country is just not ready for a reopening. Some key questions and answers from the Dusit Poll on reopening:

              • 75% – more than 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated with quality vaccines
              • 69% – the ability to contain the pandemic
              • 68% – health services, hospitals and medical personnel must be ready
              • 66% – mandatory testing of people before entering places
              • 65% – confidence in safety in airports, public transport, restaurants and hotels
              • 72% – Thai population has not yet been fully vaccinated
              • 70% – Covid-19 could spread further in the country
              • 66% – tourists could bring in the virus
              • 61% – worry over new variants
              • 56% – no clear plans if Covid-19 spreads

              • 77% – revival of the economy
              • 75% – the return of employment and salaries
              • 68% – national income from tourism
              • 64% – revival of tourism-related businesses
              • 58% – restore confidence in Thailand for investors and business operators
              • 83% – Covid-19 infections might again rise
              • 75% – lockdown could be reinstated
              • 60% – health services might not be prepared
              • 55% – illegal border crossings might increase
              • 48% – people’s living conditions might be affected