Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, February 1st to the 7th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in the order of date of publication.
1. Public and private tourism sectors in Thailand seek plans to bring foreign tourists in mid 2021, including proposal for welcoming vaccinated tourists
Influential tourism sectors nationwide are coming up with multiple plans to propose to the Thai government to help revive their tourism business, which has been significantly wreaked during the first and second wave of Covid-19 Coronavirus since last year. Some proposals include border reopening for vaccinated international tourists with no quarantine, the inclusion of hospitality employees in Phase 1 of Covid-19 vaccine distribution, and the consideration of more vaccine options as a matter of urgency. TAT believes that the country reopening should be conducted some time after Songkran otherwise the domestic tourism in Thailand may face a financial collapse that could affect Thailand’s economic growth in a long term.
2. Thailand’s Excise Department aims to propose new tobacco taxation adjustment to disrupt national tobacco smuggling
This new adjustment was primarily introduced by the Excise Department after they were facing the problem of smuggling a large amount of illegal tobacco from abroad. The department, however, has not yet revealed the price of the new taxation but said that the proposal will be discussed with the Financial Ministry before being finalized by a large cabinet committee, hopefully in March. The taxation adjustment will also help stress fair income for Thai tobacco farmers and the Thai government.
3. Samut Sakhon reportedly “seals off” seven major factories with over 40,000 migrant workers for all of February
Seven major factories with the majority of migrant workers in Samut Sakhon were declared a hard restriction zone and have already been closed in response to the order of the provincial authorities throughout February prior to proactive case finding to prevent the potential spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. More than 9,000 infections were discovered during the first period of the closure. Meanwhile, the non-positive migrant workers will be allowed to work as normal during the restriction period under security and surveillance of law enforcement agencies. They are not allowed to leave the factories where they also live.
4. Leading Phuket business figures introduce “Phuket First October” with island reopening plan to resolve its tourism crisis
Despite the border closures in the country that has been ongoing until further notice, Phuket’s leading business owners are now planning to reopen their island after they have been losing a tremendous amount of tourism income and locals have also been significantly facing financial problems from the Covid-19 global pandemics. The proposal, called ‘Phuket First October’, aims to welcome vaccinated tourists, particularly from European countries, to visit the island by October 1st, 2021. This, however, is just an idea brought by prominent tourist agencies during a business meeting and must be further approved by the Prime Minister and the CCSA. The idea also raised some concerns and critics in social media, questioning how the plan would ensure that the tourists and local, although vaccinated, would not carry the virus and spread it to the mainland.
5. Thai army steps up border patrols after Myanmar coup, concerned on potential illegal border crossings and spread of Covid-19
The strict border control is mainly to observe the potential spread of Covid-19 in the country that might be carried from illegal Myanmar people who are attempting to cross the border to Thailand to escape the military junta in their country. More border police and patrol soldiers were deployed as well as blockades and barbed wire fences have been reinforced in and around borderlines in Northern provinces, particularly in Tak and Chiang Rai where many Myanmar’s people have been regularly illegally crossing to Thailand. At least nine people have already been reportedly caught in the Mae Ramad district of Tak since the coup by the patrol police.
And, that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!