Dozens of tourism industry leaders in Thailand urge government to immediately cancel “Thailand Pass” and “Test & Go” plans, align with many other countries travel measures

Bangkok –

Leading business operators in the hotel and tourism industry mutually agreed at a major tourism summit yesterday that the immediate cancellation of the “Thailand Pass” and “Test & Go” schemes was critical in order to recover the Thai tourism industry by leaps and bounds and be in alignment with many other countries travel rules.

The hotelier and tourism representatives made their statements during the “Thailand Tourism Leadership Summit 2022” yesterday, March 1st, suggesting the reduction of excessive preventive procedures and making travel to Thailand as simple as possible, such as presenting only a vaccination certificate and RT-PCR negative results from the country of origin. The industry leaders said any testing upon arrival, mandatory SHA++ hotel stays, extra insurance, tracking applications, and extra paperwork were discouraging tourism. Additionally, there was still genuine concern from many tourists about what happens if they test positive in Thailand and fear of possible isolation or quarantine which discourages tourism.

Minor International Chairman William Heinecke stated that the Thai government should immediately cancel the Test & Go in order to “fully open the country”. Other conditions that obstructed international travelers from traveling should also be eliminated, such as an RT-PCR test when arriving in the country upon arrival in Thailand as it costs more than traveling expenses for people from close countries in many cases and causes fear about potential isolation and quarantine if positive.

“Vaccination is key, and so is the decision to whether make Covid-19 an endemic and treat it as we treat the common cold or flu-with no restrictions, tracking, travel bans, business closures, etc. Now many potential tourists have laid an eye on Thailand but the government still makes it difficult to travel to, despite the fact Covid-19 is widespread in the country and these entry measures do very little. I think Thailand does not have to compete with many other countries to attract tourism, but rather only competes with the government measures that still turn people off,” the Chairman said.

PHOTO: Prachachat

Regarding the government’s goal of attracting about 10 million foreign tourists in 2022, the hoteliers agreed that if the Test & Go system was still implemented, the country would only receive 10 percent of the total 40 million foreign tourists in 2019, accountable for only 4 million people. Moreover, the “Russia-Ukraine” political conflict also affected the Thai tourism industry and the number of international visitors, making the government’s goal even more impossible. Due to this affecting the Russian tourism market, one of Thailand’s largest markets, the tourism and business leaders said there was an absolute sense of urgency to immediately cancel Test and Go and Thailand Pass and ease the ability for people to travel to and from Thailand.

Stephan Auweele, Chief of the Asset World Corporation (AWC), further added regarding the issue of Russia and Ukraine situation that it had also affected international flights as most of the flights had to change routes which took at least 1-2 hours longer than usual, making it difficult for foreign tourists to travel to Thailand. Russian tourists also now have to deal with financial sanctions that limit their ability to pay for services.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) also mentioned that after the past two years, the Thai tourism industry has lost almost 5 trillion baht of the opportunity to generate tourism income from the Covid-19 crisis, pointing out that places like Maldives, Mexico, the UAE, Turkey, and other countries had fully recovered their tourism industries and even grown them, despite Covid, due to relaxed travel rules and restrictions.

“The high season of the fourth quarter this year may become as good as the same period of time in the past years, which could be the best-case scenario if all countries declared Covid-19 as an ‘endemic disease’ and were able to control the outbreak in both the country of origin and of destination. Nearly all restrictions on travel would need to be returned to 2019 levels at this point and all business industries, including the nightlife and entertainment sector, should be completely restored to normal to attract tourists.” she added.

The prominent business and tourism leaders planned to continue to “push” the issue with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Thai Government, and relevant agencies, stating that there was “no compromise” on lifting Thailand Pass and Test and Go as soon as possible and that business leaders, even competitors, were united in ending the restrictions and restoring tourism.

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Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of TPN media since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America. His background is in HR and Operations and has written about news and Thailand for a decade now. He has lived in Pattaya for about eight years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail Pattayanewseditor@gmail.com About Us: https://thepattayanews.com/about-us/ Contact Us: https://thepattayanews.com/contact-us/