Top News Thailand’s tourism sector seeks July 1 reopening By TTG Asia / Posted on 3 March, 2021 15:19 Several international tourism companies in Thailand have launched a campaign aimed at getting the government to reopen the country’s borders from July 1. Launched on Tuesday, the #OpenThailandSafely campaign is led by Bangkok-based travel companies YAANA Ventures, Minor Group and Asian Trails; with the support of major companies like Capella Hotels and Resorts, and EXO. Inbound international tourism players in Thailand say vaccines are a game-changer that allow for the reopening of the country and for quarantine requirements to be dropped The Open Thailand Safely campaign has laid out its arguments in a petition which will underpin a formal request to the Thai government to respond favourably to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programmes underway in Europe, the US, and other Thailand tourism source markets. The petition is open to anyone in Thailand or around the world who would like to see the country reopen on July 1. The campaign lists five reasons for proposing July 1 as the reopening date, including that the majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then, and gives time for Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both frontline staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and/or vulnerable citizens around the country. The date will also give international travellers time to make travel plans and bookings; while allowing airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales and get ready for tourism operations to commence. Lastly, it is expected that it will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the Covid-19 crisis. To ensure the safe reopening of Thailand, the petition argues that “international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai government may require”. Examples cited include showing officially recognised proof of a Covid-19 vaccination from their home country, purchasing health insurance, and showing proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure. 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.” In the coming days, the Open Thailand Safely campaign will also send the July 1 reopening request 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.