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Published on Sunday, November 8, 2020

Thai travel agents urge removal of quarantine

Removing the requirement to quarantine is the only way for Thailand's battered outbound tourism industry to survive says the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA).

There is pent-up demand now for outbound travel by Thais, and as long as there is no escalation in Covid-19 cases in Thailand or overseas source markets, quarantine requirements could be removed in a phased way.

"Requiring quarantines is an obstacle to tourism. If people can travel without concerns about quarantine, both in destination and origin countries, more trips will be made, even without a vaccine available," said Suthiphong Pheunphiphop, TTAA President.

He said reciprocal quarantine-free arrangements are the first step, which will allow Thai outbound travel operators to start making money.

TTAA says about half of its outbound tour operator members are temporarily closed.

"The association has to encourage members to shift focus to the domestic market in order to survive until international entries can restart next year," Suthiphong said.

Under a phased approach, Suthiphong suggested reciprocal arrangements for quarantine-free travel should begin within the ASEAN bloc region.

He acknowledges a workable vaccine will likely not be widely available until mid-2021.

The Thai government last week said it may consider a no-quarantine travel bubble arrangement with some of the 22 Chinese provinces which are designated 'low risk.'

Those are provinces that have not recorded any cases in 150 days.


Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Editor

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