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News Forum - Countdown to February 1 – opening Thailand’s tourist floodgates?


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26 minutes ago, Wills said:

Is risk-adverse Thailand too late to the table? Absolutely! And it may well damage their tourism industry, and their people, for many years to come.

Please do not misunderstand: I have loved Thailand ever since I lived and worked there in the late 80s/early 90s and have returned many times since as a tourist. I also have huge respect for the Thai authorities who have handle the pandemic better than most and protected the Thai people. Thailand records 2.42M cases and 22,145 deaths#. In contrast, UK records 16.4M cases and 156,000 deaths#. Thailand’s figures are 14-15% that of UK. So, by any measure, Thailand has done brilliantly. Although, at what cost to their tourism industry and people?

However, what the Thai authorities have, seemingly, not comprehended is that Covid-19 is here to stay for many years to come: probably, until the world is vaccinated. And, since the wealthiest countries have been so selfish with their vaccinations (at least so far), that could be a very long time. Indeed, there is already concern over a sub-variant of Omicron, designated BA.2 by UKHSA*. Early data suggests that BA.2 spreads more quickly than the original Omicron variant. So, what will the Thai authorities do now – suspend Test&Go2 before it has barely begun?

So why is Thailand too late to the table?

Many people in the UK who would have jumped at visiting Thailand pre-pandemic, have now chosen to travel to other countries like Dubai and South America. Why? Because it is so much easy to travel to those countries and less fraught when there, compared to Thailand. For example: I know 4 families (15 total) who, in 2019, were contemplating/planning holidays to Thailand in 2020. We all know why those plans never came to fruition. Those families have waited in vain hope that travelling to Thailand would once again be relatively easy. They have now given up and will travel to South America and Dubai instead. For sure, they are not the only ones in the UK and the UK not the only country.

The question now, is will such travellers ever contemplate visiting Thailand again?

Doubtful…

Two years of disappointment being turned away and put-off from visiting Thailand, is not easily forgotten. And, if one’s first exciting and wonderful holiday - post lockdowns, no travel, no holidays - is in (say) Dubai or South America, one is far more likely to return to where they enjoyed that exciting and wonderful holiday than the country that caused them so much disappointment.

As for myself, I hope to return to Thailand mid-late February. But then, I am no longer your typical tourist - I haven’t seen my girlfriend since I returned from Thailand in late 2019! However, believe me, it is not proving at all easy. I have spent all weekend researching and emailing hotels on what I need to do to enter Thailand under Test&Go2. I have found, and received, much conflicting information. Furthermore, a fair number of hotels are not ready for the start of Test&Go2 when registration opens 01/February at 09:00 [Thai time]. Without the correct booked and paid hotel, it will not be possible to register at, or shortly after, registration opening. Then, there is the very real possibility of someone, totally unknown to me, travelling on the same flight, testing positive on arrival in Thailand, that could potentially result in me spending 10-days in government quarantine!

For me, it is not so much that I must stay in a SHA+ hotel day 1 and 5 (one must stay somewhere) or the cost of 2 RT-PCR tests (see below) - it is the lack of accurate information and a definitive and easy process to follow. Plus, of course, the extremely worrying possibility of government quarantine.

All of this would most definitely stop me from travelling to Thailand as a typical tourist. Especially, when it is now so much easier, and less fraught once there, to travel to so many other countries.

That is why Thailand is most definitely too late to the table.

As for the cost of RT-PCR tests impeding travel, I’m not sure that argument currently stacks up. The £150 cost [FX approx.] for the 3 RT-PCR tests (UK pre-departure, Thailand day 1 & 5) is outweighed, and in many cases far outweighed, by the current much cheaper hotel prices compared to pre-pandemic times. One can’t have it both ways!

Of course, this is not the case for those returning to visit and stay with family or friends. They do have a valid grievance. However, such visitors will be a relatively small proportion of the near 40M who visited Thailand in 2019^.

The BBC Travel Show stated that Bangkok welcomed 22.8M tourists in 2019making it the most visited city. For the sake of the Thai tourism industry, and ultimately the Thai people, Thailand needs to return to those figures and accolade now, not in months or years to come. To do this, the Thai authorities MUST accept that Covid-19 is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, and open Thailand to much easier entry and much less worry of government quarantine once there (except in exceptional circumstances of course).

If they don’t, then their competition – the countries that have realised this and now welcome tourists with ease – will continue to bleed tourists from Thailand at this time and quite possible, for many years to come.

Great media channel by the way. Hopefully see you mid-late February – wish me luck🤞

#JHU CSSE | Our World in Data, 28/01/2022 (other sources may vary).
*UK Health Security Agency
^Wikipedia
+The Travel Show, BBC News Channel, 29 January 2022.

Extremely well stated. I was in Thailand December 2019 and Phuket Sandbox In November 2021. My first trip was 1997. I agree, there are many potential first time tourist that will be lost to other countries. 
 

additionaly those that may have returned may be dissuaded by all of the stories online detailing the constant problems with obtaining a pass. I did the old COE which seemed fairly straightforward. The Thailand Pass seems like a potential nightmare. I’ve stated before on this thread. I have tickets for April. I’m seriously considering eating the $300 cancellation fee and going to PH. Far simpler. I’ve been to Ph five times since 2017 and Thailand four. I love both. I probably spend about $5,000 US per trip. Multiply that by tens of thousands of other tourists - big loss for the land of smiles in the short term and as you stated A far more costly mistake with long lasting repercussions for the future. 
 

The problem is not the restriction decisions to keep residents safe.  The problems have been in the constant changing, the poor delivery of information, and the deplorable roll outs and support for the visitors trying to enter

 

again, it really does appear that the Thai government doesn’t want people coming and are only giving the idea lip service. And or just pure incompetency

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9 minutes ago, Koen said:

I do not wait and see. I actually just decided to travel elsewhere, where the SHA+ garbage arrangements, and the day 1 nose poke , plus the day 5 invasion in my nose plus all the fuss around it, is rightfully deemed absurd

Good choice - where are you going?

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1 hour ago, Koen said:

I do not wait and see. I actually just decided to travel elsewhere, where the SHA+ garbage arrangements, and the day 1 nose poke , plus the day 5 invasion in my nose plus all the fuss around it, is rightfully deemed absurd

Go for it, it is your life.

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On 1/29/2022 at 9:45 AM, WR2 said:

The mask requirement is the stupidest thing ever.  So I have to wear a mask outdoors, far from anyone else, never close to anyone long enough to possibly transit the virus, but as soon as I sit down inside a crowded restaurant I can take off my mask?  Stupid.  There's no scientific basis for an outdoor mask mandate, and that's not even considering that cloth masks are proven to be useless, and surgical masks nearly useless in any situation.  So yeah, count me as one of those who will not return until the outdoor mask wearing charade is over.

Don't forget while driving your own vehicle 

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10 hours ago, satpete said:

tourist season is over now,

there should be no 2 pcr tests for the tourists still will come to Thailand,

be happy that some will come now

This govt will squeeze the covid revenue rape until no more!

They have a custom up here in my neck of the rice patties! A joke if you will. 
pour ,wring and twist a empty bottle until nothing comes out!

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9 hours ago, Ksmui said:

I agree I don’t see the day five test lasting past mid February. That said, I’m still tempted to cancel my tickets and go to Philippines instead. The back-and-forth and constant changing of rules is just draining 🤣

The only reason to cancel the day 5 testing is if very few cases show up on day 5. If day 5 shows positive testing of previous negative testing,it will show it is catching some previous negative cases and will continue.  Whether or not if it's inconvenient although important, the decision needs to be based on the findings and not the feelings of some.

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5 hours ago, Koen said:

Pensionned with 3 vaccinations,  and I am OK with a test before departure. But this is where I draw the line. No quarantine, no more tests. 

 You guys will loose February tourism as well, you will see.  Then why should I go to the tropics when whether is improving here at home. 

So, till next winter. In fact, perhaps this is good time to check around for more tourist friendly destinations and not very ready to forgive how you have treated us in 2022. 

So what do you bring to the equation.  Are you a high end tourist who supports Thai businesses, hotels  restaurants and markets? Are you a Middle of the road type who looks for budget places, public transportation, and lower cost food options? Are you a low endder who looks for a cheap place to sleep and is primarily interested in bars and the sleaze.

Your response determines how much or how little your presence affects Thailand. 

Since many of the complainers are in the low end group, the affect on Thai businesses won't be much.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, LoongFred said:

The only reason to cancel the day 5 testing is if very few cases show up on day 5. If day 5 shows positive testing of previous negative testing,it will show it is catching some previous negative cases and will continue.  Whether or not if it's inconvenient although important, the decision needs to be based on the findings and not the feelings of some.

That’s not what the science says. Average incubation is now three days. So, if someone traveling from out of country tests before they leave negative and again negative on arrival it is almost certain that they are negative. If they then test positive on day five, it is almost certain that the infection was transmitted locally. If the logic is to catch local transmission then why not have visitors test every five days the entire time they are in country. Local is occurring worldwide and can be slowed but it’s not going to be eliminated.  
 

anyone testing positive on day five almost certainly got Covid while in Thailand- as long as it is around the risk exists. 
 

i’ll also speak from personal experience, when I was in Phuket I was tested at Bangkok Hospital in order to go home. A woman sat in a plexiglass booth and reuse the same gloves over and over to test people. Granted she did put disposable gloves over her giant rubber gloves and sanitized with alcohol in between tests. However the procedure did not look very stringent and look like her easily could’ve been cross-contamination. For instance I saw her changing disposable gloves and dropped one on the box of clean gloves. 
 

I really do not want to get locked up based on someone else’s test and cross contamination. 

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5 hours ago, JamesR said:

Why is everyone complaining?

As far as I can see most sensible countries in the world have looked after their own millions of people above a few tourists .

Most countries have reacted and changed their rules domestically and as far as arrivals from other countries go as a result of the changing situation regarding the virus.

Most of us do not want to travel at the moment anyway, we are not sitting around sulking all day long, get on with it. 

Why is everyone not complaining!

Omg! If by chance word of mouth gets out that falangs are upset enough perhaps the revenue rape will subside into draconia  ,never to return! Think about it!

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8 minutes ago, riclag said:

Why is everyone not complaining!

Omg! If by chance word of mouth gets out that falangs are upset enough perhaps the revenue rape will subside into draconia  ,never to return! Think about it!

Hate to break it to you but it's not just the caucasian/white tourists that are suffering from all these new regulations. Tourists from other region (specifically Asian region) makes up a larger and significantly higher income for Thai tourism but so far I haven't hear them complain that much.

Source for Thai tourism statistic (pre-Covid): 

https://www.mots.go.th/mots_en/more_news_new.php?cid=330&page=4

https://www.mots.go.th/mots_en/News-link.php?nid=3627

Capture.JPG.2f0d332b178f76fa859e07afd18502b5.JPG

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On 1/30/2022 at 5:33 AM, Darth said:

Just checked for 1 night Bangkok & 1 night Hua Hin for 2 persons sharing room on Agoda SHA+ including tests & it’s getting on for £500- Hua Hin more expensive than Bangkok .

So it’s a definite no from me.

For same price I can get flights & 4 nights hotel 2 persons in Malaga. So booking this & Thailand will have to wait until they join the real world.

Enjoy Malaga, its got everything that Thailand has, just well hidden!

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2 hours ago, LoongFred said:

So what do you bring to the equation.  Are you a high end tourist who supports Thai businesses, hotels  restaurants and markets? Are you a Middle of the road type who looks for budget places, public transportation, and lower cost food options? Are you a low endder who looks for a cheap place to sleep and is primarily interested in bars and the sleaze.

Your response determines how much or how little your presence affects Thailand. 

Since many of the complainers are in the low end group, the affect on Thai businesses won't be much.

I don't get your point. Now, suppose I am a middle end tourist, using taxi's, middle class restaurants, middle class hotels. Then what ?  Thailand doesn't need my money? Stay where  you are ? Have you multiplied this with a factor 10,000 even 100,000 -  to see what the effect is of keeping that many tourists out because they don't come to play golf, swim in infinity pools and eat lobsters? What do 100,000 visitors bring to the equation? , that would be a better question. Perhaps, survival of the tourism industry? 

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6 hours ago, Ksmui said:

Good choice - where are you going?

I decided to give it a try to the Philippines. Vaccination certificate, negative PCR test before departure, and off I go. Don't want to stopover in thailand on my way, for all I know, they may want to stick a tester in my nose during transit within the airport. 

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28 minutes ago, Koen said:

I decided to give it a try to the Philippines. Vaccination certificate, negative PCR test before departure, and off I go. Don't want to stopover in thailand on my way, for all I know, they may want to stick a tester in my nose during transit within the airport. 

Good luck in the Philippines, how dare they stick a testing probe up your nose? I mean, the indignity! 😃

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4 hours ago, riclag said:

Why is everyone not complaining!

Omg! If by chance word of mouth gets out that falangs are upset enough perhaps the revenue rape will subside into draconia  ,never to return! Think about it!

I fully agree and have said so countless times. Keep your money, don't jump  through any of these hoops. Go somewhere else and enjoy. Watch all this nonsense get banned when the authorities see that no one is buying into it.

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18 hours ago, TiT said:

I feel like Thailand has had multiple 'countdowns' to reopening: Phuket sandbox, Samui sandbox, T&G #1, and now T&G #2.  No matter how many times they count down, its gonna be a disappointment with the excessive restrictions they have imposed.

The authorities are trying to find out what works best for the country. Trial and error is the basic scientific method, but error on the side of caution are best. Since the overall situation has been constantly changing its very difficult. 

Thailand rate of covid infection, although still concerning, is low compared to UK ,USA and EU. Other countries in Asia have had to make adjustments, so don't give Thailand low marks and be thankful that concerns are high.

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The new rule will not encourage tourists to travel to Thailand ... I know this first hand as I had 3 friends who wanted to come and visit me here but have now cancelled... what is the logic behind a second PCR on day 5 and an extra expense of a gov hotel ?!  Actually that's 3 PCRs within 7 days as you have to have one before you travel...  who thought up this nonsense ?

 

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4 hours ago, Poolie said:

Good luck in the Philippines, how dare they stick a testing probe up your nose? I mean, the indignity! 😃

It's not the indignity; It's my common sense that I have done enough for self protection and for third parties,  my wallet doesn't need al  these extra costs either , and my mental ability to have a holiday in stead of a medical bootcamp is such that I can't have my holiday ruined for 3 years in a row. So yes, I go elsewhere, definitely. 

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1 minute ago, Koen said:

It's not the indignity; It's my common sense that I have done enough for self protection and for third parties,  my wallet doesn't need al  these extra costs either , and my mental ability to have a holiday in stead of a medical bootcamp is such that I can't have my holiday ruined for 3 years in a row. So yes, I go elsewhere, definitely. 

Right, down with medical bootcamps!! Boo!!😄

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14 hours ago, Koen said:

I do not wait and see. I actually just decided to travel elsewhere, where the SHA+ garbage arrangements, and the day 1 nose poke , plus the day 5 invasion in my nose plus all the fuss around it, is rightfully deemed absurd

I will be going to Thailand for up to a year and I can not shift my house to another country.

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4 hours ago, LoongFred said:

The authorities are trying to find out what works best for the country. Trial and error is the basic scientific method, but error on the side of caution are best. Since the overall situation has been constantly changing its very difficult. 

Thailand rate of covid infection, although still concerning, is low compared to UK ,USA and EU. Other countries in Asia have had to make adjustments, so don't give Thailand low marks and be thankful that concerns are high.

I agree with you about the trial and error aspects of your comment.

I do not agree with you thinking the rate of infection is lower as Thailand is not testing as many people as many other countries and so will not know what the real infection numbers are.

Plus in Thailand people will not volunteer to go for a test as they may be detained for two weeks. 

I write software, I could not bother to test it and assume it works but that is not the way to do things. 

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10 hours ago, riclag said:

Why is everyone not complaining!

Omg! If by chance word of mouth gets out that falangs are upset enough perhaps the revenue rape will subside into draconia  ,never to return! Think about it!

Revenue rape?

More like common sense rape on the part of the farang moaners. 

But they do make me laugh with their self importance. 😄

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4 minutes ago, JamesR said:

Revenue rape?

More like common sense rape on the part of the farang moaners. 

But they do make me laugh with their self importance. 😄

Unpoetic licence. 😃

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9 hours ago, Poolie said:

Enjoy Malaga, its got everything that Thailand has, just well hidden!

I took my kids to southern Spain once at Christmas years ago as everywhere else was full, it was a last minute booking.

Never again, full of tattooed,  fat, chavy, dim, beer swilling Brits, the type I would never go near in the UK.

A week felt like a month.

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