BANGKOK, 2 March 2021: Leading international travel and hospitality enterprises with headquarters in Bangkok seek a commitment from the Thai Government to reopen borders on 1 July 2021.
An open letter dated 2 March, penned by 16 organisations, seeks a commitment from the Thai government to open borders to international tourists who have proof of vaccination exempting them from the the 14-day quarantine rule.
Backed by a petition website that is clocking up support from travel and hospitality firms across the country, the letter from the 16 firms *(see list below) argues that the year-long border closure has decimated Thailand’s tourism-related industries.
“It has severely damaged the Thai economy with profound negative effects on hotels, aviation, tour operations, restaurants, attractions, retail, medical tourism, meetings, conferences, agricultural supply chains and many more support sectors.
“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.”
The current situation is unsustainable, the letter states adding: “We are therefore seeking a commitment by the Thai Government to reopen borders on 1 July 2021 to let tourists with proof of vaccination enter Thailand without quarantine.”
- “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 safest reopening of Thailand, international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai Government may require.
- “This may, for example, include showing 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.”
The #OpenThailandSafely campaign presents a petition which underpins a formal request to the Royal Thai Government to respond favourably to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programmes worldwide.
The petition is open to anyone in Thailand or around the world who would like to see the country reopen. The clock is counting supporters who sign the petition online with the tally at 1,661 on the first day and climbing. The target is 100,000 signatories.
In a separate press statement to the open letter, one of the founding signatories, YAANA Ventures CEO 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.”
Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand’s tourism chairman, Eric Brtand endorsed the petition: “JFCCT recognises the importance of international Tourism and MICE to the Thai economy, to the livelihoods of Thai citizens, others working in Thailand and to the avoidance of unnecessary failure of investments in these sectors. On the basis that confidence in vaccines is strong, JFCCT endorses a firm date of 1 July for the safe opening of borders without quarantine for tourism and MICE sectors. For professionals, business and other groups, JFCCT has long recommended safe ways to support short stays now, and will continue to do so”
The Open Thailand Safely campaign will also send the ‘1 July open letter’ to Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn.
According to the Bank of Thailand and official sources in Thailand, tourism, pre-Covid, was worth about 2.9 trillion baht (US$96.5 billion). Some 39.7 million international visitors in 2019 helped sustain up to 8.3 million jobs. However, arrivals fell to 6.7 million in 2020, making between two and four million people unemployed.
Petition founding supporters
- Minor International William Heinecke, CEO
- YAANA Ventures, Willem Niemeijer, CEO
- Khiri Travel, Herman Hoven, CEO
- Asian Trails, Laurent Kuenzle, CEO
- Smiling Albino, Daniel Fraser, CEO
- Go Vacation, Christoph Mueller, MD
- Destination Asia, Monique Arnoux, CEO
- I Asia Group, Nick Critelli, GM
- EXO Travel, Hamish Keith, CEO
- Cape & Kantary Hotels Poomiphat, “Tom” Navanukroh, Group Director
- Capella Bangkok, John Blanco, GM
- Skål International Thailand Andrew J. Wood, President
- QUO Global, David Keen, CEO
- Experience Mekong Collection, Jens Thraenhart, CEO
- Portier Technologies, Olivier Dombey, COO
- ScottAsia Communications, Ken Scott, Founder