Tour bubble plan under construction

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Tour bubble plan under construction

Negotiations with China and Malaysia “this month”

People arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport under the resumption of the Test & Go program for fully vaccinated travelers who must take two tests, one on the first day of arrival and another on the fifth. The program was suspended in late December in response to growing concerns over the fast-spreading Omicron variant. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The government will open talks to set up travel bubbles with China and Malaysia this month to attract more foreign visitors, after the Test & Go program resumes on February 1.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday authorities would discuss details of a possible travel bubble deal with China’s culture and tourism minister.

Talks will also take place with Malaysia later this month, he said.

The number of visitors allowed to visit Thailand under the travel bubble will be capped and their travel will also be restricted to certain areas to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19, he said.

Under the new travel bubble arrangements, tourists will not have to quarantine upon arrival, but their entry will be subject to special protocols that regulate the type of visa they can use to enter, where they can stay and what flights to take.

“The Prime Minister is confident that Thailand will remain one of the world’s top tourist destinations despite the pandemic, and the government will support efforts to revitalize tourism with a focus on public health and safety,” said Mr. he declared.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) previously said international arrivals could exceed 5 million this year if the government launches travel bubbles with Asian countries, as the Test & Go program alone will not be enough. to attract tourists who still have to quarantine on their return.

He added that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects the number of visitors under the scheme to increase to 60,000 between this month and next month, which is the country’s peak tourist season.

Preparations have been made to welcome tourists with the Visit Thailand Year 2022 campaign rolled out to promote tourism, the spokesperson said.

Mr Thanakorn further said that Gen. Prayut will chair a meeting of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday to consider easing more curbs on the virus so that more activities can resume.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the Public Health Ministry will not propose lifting all virus restrictions at the meeting as daily infection figures remain high.

However, the ministry will change the way it reports infection figures, so that people can go about their daily lives without too much worry, Mr Anutin said, before stressing that daily reports will always be based on facts. .

He said that although daily infection figures have climbed to over 10,000, the death toll remains low.

“About 80% [of those who died] were unvaccinated or belong to at-risk groups, such as people with underlying health conditions,” he said.

Mr Anutin also said around 85% of those who tested positive for Covid are asymptomatic, and most are self-isolating at home.

“Therefore, we do not need to reinstate the closures. Only nightlife venues, such as pubs, bars and karaoke lounges will not yet be allowed to reopen,” Mr Anutin said.

Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for public health, said the Covid-19 situation remains under control, with the death rate in the current wave being just 0.2%.

That said, it’s still important that people get a booster shot to prevent the worst effects of the virus, he said.

Meanwhile, Opas Karnkawanpong, director general of the ministry’s Department of Disease Control (DDC), said the country will have to start moving forward.

“The situation has changed and people now know how to protect themselves. We cannot afford to be bogged down by Covid like in 2020,” Dr Opas said.

Thailand has reported 10,470 new cases of Covid-19 and 12 more deaths in the past 24 hours, the public health ministry said on Monday.

Bangkok recorded the most cases with 1,391, followed by Samut Prakan with 962, Chon Buri (545), Nonthaburi (474), Phuket (436), Nakhon Pathom (274), Ratchaburi (265), Nakhon Ratchasima (263) , Nakhon Si Thammarat (213) and Khon Kaen (208).

“The number of cases is increasing as expected, but the situation remains under control,” said CCSA deputy spokeswoman Sumanee Wacharasint.

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