November 1st Reopening : A Farce? 

November 1st Reopening : A Farce? 

November 1st Reopening : A Farce? 

From November 1st, Thailand is reopening to double vaccinated tourists from 46  countries. Policy makers have finalized the list and announced the guidelines. Inoculated  people from countries not on the list can still enter Thailand through the sandbox  schemes and non-vaccinated tourists from all countries can also visit but must go to  through quarantine.
 
After waiting from June this year for PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha to keep his promise of  reopening within 120 days, business operators are not completely happy with the Nov.  1st reopening and  question whether it is a real push for an opening or just an exercise   that policy makers need to go through to save face and deliver on the 120 day promise, while  the country is still not ready.

Checking the list of 46 countries allowed without quarantine which are termed as low- risk countries, one can be forgiven for being confused on what criteria countries have   been included or excluded.

Take Russia for example, when Pattaya’s business operators wished for the country to be  included on the list, policy makers explained that Russia was going through a recent surge of cases, which sounds plausible but when one looks at the other countries on the list, one is left perplexed. 

Britain is on the quarantine-free list when there are recording 50,00 cases a day, while the Chinese  government have announced that the realistic date to lift border  restrictions would be in the second half of 2022. Furthermore, China placed Lanzhou, a  northwestern city of four million, under lockdown earlier this week in a bid to stamp out  a domestic coronavirus spike, with residents told not to leave home except in  emergencies. However, China is still on the list.

When business operators asked what about India’s exclusion from the list, authorities said India uses Covaxin, which is not recognized by the WHO, so tourists from that  country must undergo quarantine.

The reason given shows policy makers’ poor research on the list of countries that should be included or excluded.

88% of Indians vaccinated have been given Covishield, which have been approved by  WHO. So far, only seven vaccines have been approved for use by the WHO. These include Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covishield  (an Oxford-AstraZeneca formulation) and China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac. 

Recently, a ‘travel sentiment tracker’ survey was conducted with 7,000 participants in  India where 66% said they were prepared to travel to Thailand immediately, as soon as it   opens, when asked when would they be prepared to travel to Thailand. 

Curently, India is seeing the lowest daily surge in coronavirus cases of 12,000-15,000.

Countries whose citizens can and want to travel to Thailand are not on the list while those whose citizens cannot or won’t travel to Thailand are on the list.

The people who do arrive though can expect to find the same experience as those who came in under the ‘sandbox’ or rather aptly renamed “sandblock”.

Thailand is opening with entertainment venues, pubs, bars and karaoke shops still ordered to remain close.

Perhaps, the biggest indicator of what the outside world thinks of the country’s   reopening is that International airlines have returned as many as 80% of their airport  slots at Thailand’s six international airports between October 31st and March 26th next   year. In contrast, Singapore is poised to reach 84% of the weekly flights to Europe as it had in March last year.

Written by - Thai Business Box.