After last Friday’s big meeting of the Administrative Center for Covid19 Control, the CCSA, general reactions from entrepreneurs have been very lukewarm and at worst, downright negative.
The Thai Federation of Industry, the FTI and the Chamber of Commerce have both stated that the changes are not nearly enough to encourage wider foreign tourism and travel.
The FTI, in particular, has stated this weekend that they will continue to petition and urge the government to completely drop the Thailand Pass and test and go process and replace it with a simple vaccine verification. They don’t believe that eliminating just the pre-arrival test will make much of a difference, pointing to an increasing number of countries with little to no paperwork, testing or other restrictions required to visit a country.
The Thai Chamber of Commerce said the steps were a positive step forward, but too slow, way too slow and the current plan to treat Covid19 as endemic within four months will put Thailand significantly behind other tourist destinations. They suggested immediately shifting the timeline to removing restrictions and regulations around travel and testing.
The Thai Hotel Association joined FTI in declaring that they supported the total and complete removal of Thailand Pass and Test and Go as soon as possible to restore their business and the country’s economy.
For the third year in a row, the Khaosan Road Tourist Association in Bangkok was not happy with the ban on throwing or spraying Songkran water, which detracts from the previously world-famous Songkran celebrations. Celebrations can still take place, the government said, but no alcohol, water in public areas, foam parties, powder or other “fun” activities.
Representatives of the Khaosan Road association plan to personally petition the Prime Minister with a proposal to make the road a safe area from splash water with atk testing and vaccine controls and crowd limits.
Nightlife and entertainment associations across the country, including in Pattaya, objected to the decision to keep nightlife and bars legally closed with no set opening date. The locations may currently operate in a gray area as converted restaurants, but this comes with a lot of rules and regulations, as well as a prime opportunity for corrupt officials and law enforcement officers looking to make some extra cash.
To be fair, the reaction from Thai people on social media about potentially relaxing the mandate for face masks (another pain point for foreign tourists) has been very negative, prompting the Thai government to backtrack on its musings on extending the mandate for public spaces such as parks. and beaches to change.
The Administrative Center for Covid19 Control, the CCSA, has put in place a four-month plan to treat Covid-19 as endemic and remove most restrictions. It seems they are well aware that some sectors of the Thai population are still deeply concerned about the disease and apprehensive about the policy being lifted.
At the same time, the mounting pressure from a frustrating business and tourism sector could lead to further and faster change.
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