Deputy PM Wants Thailand to Open Borders for Business Travellers

Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has stated that the Kingdom cannot afford to continue remaining in lockdown in order to avoid hosting foreign tourists and investors to completely prevent local transmissions.

“We will either die of the disease or of hunger, so we have to face the challenge,” said Mr Anutin, who is also the public health minister.

Moreover, Thailand’s public health system is robust, and thus, it can ensure that the long-stay tourists and the short-stay investors remain safe when they visit the country.

He also added that the government is optimistic that the country possesses sufficient supplies of medicine as well as personal protective equipment, and thus, it is looking to invest in other safety measures with the intention of containing the outbreak, such as investing in vaccine research with Thai and international institutes.

“When the first batch of vaccines is successfully developed, I believe Thailand will be among the first countries to benefit,” said Mr Anutin.

Currently, research about COVID-19 medicines is being undertaken by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, which may be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

He also added that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha directed the state agencies several times to conduct domestic meetings and seminars in the provinces, in order to generate revenue for the tourism industry.

“It is too late to wait for international tourists,” Mr Anutin said. “The first movers to boost tourism are Thais.”

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) plans to propose to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to permit business travellers into the country, without mandating a 14-day quarantine period. The idea behind the proposal is to push the economy through the Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industry.

TCEB president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya said that, upon approval of the “Special Journey” scheme by the CCSA, exhibition sector tourists will be the first group to be permitted.

Tourists will be required to provide COVID-free certificates, which are issued within the timeframe of three days before the trip, and once they arrive in Thailand, they must undergo a saliva-based Covid-19 test and then stay at Alternative State Quarantine accommodation for the next few hours until the results are out.

TCEB will devise its own monitoring system by the beginning of next year, while business tourists will be required to continue their visits with a trained escort team. They must also download the Mor Chana tracking app.