Thailand is currently in talks with Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos to set up two-way travel bubbles in a bid to revive intra-regional travel.
Minister of tourism and sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that many international tourists are keen to visit places outside of the designated Sandbox areas, but are deterred by prevailing quarantine requirements.
As such, the tourism ministry together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health are seeking to establishment travel bubble arrangements with regional countries.
As a first step, the Thai government is negotiating with Cambodia to reopen Trat province in eastern Thailand and Cambodia’s Koh Kong island. The deal is expected to be finalised within the final quarter of this year.
Authorities are also in discussion to link Malaysia’s Langkawi Island with Koh Lipe Island in southern Thailand. Negotiations are also underway between Thailand and Laos for a similar arrangement.
Thailand is targeting to receive at least one million foreign tourists during 4Q2021 and 1Q2022. For 2022, the country hopes to receive about 15 million foreigners, and achieve 160 million domestic trips, generating 1.5 trillion baht (US$45.5 billion) in revenue or about half of 2019’s earnings.