Thailand: Omicron will not affect reopening: Phiphat

  • Thailand will not take a step back from the reopening plan despite uncertainty over the Omicron variant and the Tourism and Sports Ministry will also propose more relaxation on alcohol sales from the afternoon to lift the festive sentiment.
  • “Nobody wants another border closure as it was really difficult for us to reopen the country. Our economy still suffers from the crisis, so there will be no more border seals unless we are in a very critical situation,” said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Tourism and Sports Minister.
  • He said international travellers during the first 29 days of reopening numbered over 100,000, which doubled from three months of the Phuket sandbox. The figures proved that a quarantine-free strategy is the right way to attract tourists.
  • As the country recorded 200,000 tourists in the first 11 months, the ministry expected 300,000-400,000 tourists would visit Thailand by year-end, thanks to the winter season. But if there’s no threat from Omicron, the number of international arrivals in 2021 should reach 500,000.
  • However, the plan to replace RT-PCR tests with antigen test kits for the Test and Go scheme from 16 Dec 21 has to be postponed until there is more clarity on the Omicron variant to prevent possible caseloads of over 20,000 per day as seen during the recent wave.
  • TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the new variant hasn’t affected travel sentiment so far.
  • However, the European market has started to see slow bookings in Dec 21 due to concern over another lockdown triggered by the spread of the new variant.

External Link :