The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, is planning to propose the cancellation of the ‘Thailand Pass’ registration system by June 1st and the collection of the 300-baht ‘land entry’ fee at the next meeting of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
TPN media notes, however, that the program will stay for the time being with less paperwork and that although some media has reported the Thailand Pass being removed as a certainty, it is only a proposal that has yet to be even officially considered by relevant agencies. Therefore, tourists planning to travel in June should not automatically assume the program will be removed.
Phiphat revealed yesterday, April 27th, that he would ask the CCSA committee to consider canceling the ‘Thailand Pass’ system and implement a simple on-arrival vaccine registration instead along with filling out other the vaccination information in the TM.6 immigration form instead to facilitate all travelers.
He reasoned that the cancellation should be done in June as the infections of the Omicron variant in the country were likely to be decreased and it was close to the Public Health Ministry’s timeline of making Covid-19 an endemic disease by July 1st.
Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul suggested that the revocation of the ‘Thailand Pass’ should be replaced with additional adjustments, such as tourists must receive a booster dose or have at least 3 shots of a Covid-19 vaccine here. If they did not have at least three shots, under the suggestion of the Health Minister, they would need to go through other preventive steps like testing or quarantine.
This suggestion, which TPN media notes is only that and not official, not an official proposal, law, rule, or anything similar, did not go down well with many, including the Tourism Minister.
The Tourism Minister advised that the amount of vaccinations should be considered on a market-by-market basis and that requiring three shots of a Covid-19 vaccine would limit many visitors as many countries did not require it, especially for low-risk people who were not elderly or vulnerable, which is Thailand’s prime tourism market.
“It should depend on tourists’ country of departure and whether its government had already provided a booster vaccination or not. If the tourists were not boosted due to lack of vaccination in their country, then this proposed rule should not take place,” Phiphat added.
Regarding the ‘land entry’ fee, the Minister said that the proposal was initially scheduled to be presented to the Cabinet Committee next week. If approved, it would be implemented in the next three months. According to his statement, a 300-baht fee was divided into 50 and 200 baht. The first 50 baht would be for tourists’ individual insurance, including Covid-19 insurance for mild infections, and another 250 baht would be distributed to the National Tourism Promotion Fund.
This land tourism fee has been strongly opposed by tourism and business associations who say it is the wrong time to require it, no matter the cost. The Thai government, however, claims the fee would be used completely for insurance and tourism and would benefit all tourists by upgrading the infrastructure of tourism in the country. The Thai government has also said the spending and amount of money for the fee would be completely transparent and there would be no corruption.
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