Thailand is one of the first countries in Asia with ambitions to welcome visitors sooner, rather than later. By sooner, guests from a variety of countries will be allowed to visit from July 1st, though specific details are still scarce on who exactly will be welcomed, and what measures they’ll need to complete to pass through the gates.
Using a clever twist of phrase, Thailand is encouraging the first waves of visitors to “stay a while”, with talks of long stay discounts and packages which make longer trips more beneficial. When you break down the clever wording though, they sound an awful lot like a tranquil quarantine in paradise.
Thailand recently floated plans of only allowing visitors to places they’ll need to float if they wish to leave, using the idyllic islands just off Thailand’s shores as a tourism corridor for initial visitors. It seems the measures have some new branding. In short: they want people to visit islands before cities.
According to the South China Morning Post, new rumors suggest the country will try to discourage short term micro breaks from travelers looking to explore big cities, and strongly encourage longer stays to more remote areas. See what they did there? They basically said they’ll quarantine visitors, without quarantining visitors, at least according to Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Thailand’s Tourism Authority…
“We have studied a possibility of offering special long-stay packages in isolated and closed areas where health monitoring can be easily controlled — for example, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui. This will be beneficial for both tourists and local residents, since this is almost a kind of quarantine.”
For travelers holed up in homes for the last 8 weeks, the idea of a long stay on a Thai beach really doesn’t sound all that bad, even if it’s an effective form of separating visitors from areas with dense local populations. Thailand plans to reopen airports and international flights from June 30th, 2020 with likely first visitors from other Asian countries which fared better than others throughout the crisis, such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
When more word emerges on which passports from Western countries will be welcomed, you’ll be the first to know. Quarantine or no quarantine, a few weeks on a Thai beach with some lovely curry and some local rum is just what the doctor ordered…