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Published on Sunday, August 9, 2020

TravelMole Mekong webcast: Plan for Thailand travel bubbles on hold

Thailand's international borders could stay closed until next year as the country takes a 'very cautious' approach to welcoming international tourism again.

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor for international marketing at Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said no specific discussions have taken place on opening the country for leisure travellers.

Ayudha was speaking at the second Mekong Recovery Update Webinar, organised by TravelMole and Mekong Tourism.

So far 'there has been no mention of a timeline' for international tourism.

However some groups of travellers will be permitted on a 'controlled basis' by undergoing a period of state quarantine.

These include some approved business travellers, exhibition personnel and investors from certain countries, including China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

The 'travel bubble' agreements the country had been touting with other Asian nations look to be on the back burner for now at least.

"There have been second wave outbreaks in so many countries we were hoping to get tourists from under the travel bubble, including, unfortunately, Vietnam," he said.

Thailand hasn't had any confirmed cases of local transmission for several weeks, but other countries such as Japan have been struggling to contain a second wave.

Although the proposal has now stalled, the government had been discussing 'certified designated areas' to be used for tourism, which would likely be on Thai islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui for example.

The government is now taking a 'wait and see' approach and will assess how it handles the controlled number of approved travellers, such as diplomats, before opening up to the leisure segment, Ayudhya said.


By Ray Montgomery, Asia Pacific editor

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