A number of major international tourism companies have come together to launch a campaign aimed at reopening Thailand’s borders from July 1.
The #OpenThailandSafely campaign was launched today, March 2, with the support of over 15 international companies including Destination Asia, Minor International, YAANA Ventures, Asian Trails, Diethelm Travel and others.
The campaign has put together a petition that will be sent to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and the Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Yuthasak Supasorn.
The campaign says that “the financial, social, physical and psychological health of Thai people has been adversely affected. The disruption of travel has not just impacted tourism, but also torn families apart and greatly reduced international trade.” It has pitched for a July 1 reopening of the country for five reasons:
- The majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then
- 1 July gives time to Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both front line staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and / or vulnerable citizens around the country, as desired
- 1 July gives international travellers time to make travel plans and bookings
- 1 July gives time to airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales, and get ready for tourism operations to commence
- It will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe a lot longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the Covid-19 crisis.
To ensure the safe reopening of Thailand, the petition argues that “international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai Government may require. This may, for example, include showing officially recognised proof of a Covid-19 vaccination from their home country, purchasing health insurance, showing proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure, and so on.”
#OpenThailandSafely was the initiative of leading Bangkok-based private sector travel companies YAANA Ventures, Minor Group and Asian Trails.
The CEO of YAANA Ventures, Willem Niemeijer, said: “The 1 July reopening would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to show a leadership role among Asian countries and prepare the way for a solid recovery of the Thai economy in 2022.”
The country is desperate to restore a tourism industry that has collapsed in the wake of the pandemic. In 2019, the country welcomed 40 million foreign visitors who generated a total of 1.91 trillion baht (€51 billion) for the national economy; in 2020 the country received only 6.7 million visitors who added 332 billion baht (€9 billion) to the national coffers.
Meanwhile, destinations such as Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Sri Lanka have either opened borders already or are in discussions to do so in light of successful Covid vaccine rollouts in their key source markets.
People can sign the petition for Thailand to reopen on 1 July at www.OpenThailandSafely.org.