CHIANG RAI, 18 November 2020: Thailand enjoys a two-day holiday, 19 and 20 November, served up by the government to nourish domestic travel.
It gives Thais a four-day break when the weekend is included and will provide a much needed financial boost to restaurants and resorts around the country that rely entirely on domestic travellers to survive.
TTR Weekly is taking a break from its daily email news alerts to enjoy the holiday. December is almost upon us with more holidays lining up but the festive season break for many of us will not be the same. Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, making travel to even neighbouring countries off-limits keeping families apart. Christmas and New Year festivities will not be the same. As a grandpa, I will miss not seeing my three grandchildren who always made it to our home here in Chiang Rai for Christmas celebrations.
Tourism and hospitality companies are asking governments to adopt airport Covid-19 testing in order to reduce quarantine requirements for travellers from low-risk countries. Travel bubbles similar to the one between Hong Kong and Singapore due to launch 22 November are touted as another solution. Travel and public health leaders will be watching this particular travel bubble experiment with keen interest. Can it be adopted between ASEAN nations?
Despite the good news that vaccine tests are reporting 90 to 95% success rates in blocking the virus, their arrival in 2021 may come too late to save tourism companies, hotels and other companies that rely on international travel and are now facing a cash flow crisis.
We can only hope that airport testing technology, shaving days off quarantine stays, as well as the arrival of vaccines on a commercial scale, will enable countries to safely reopen borders to travel in 2021. Until then the holiday perks boost domestic travel and that it is as good as it gets for now.