We will travel again, and soon.
Thailand has fared well during the Covid-19 storm, and is recognised as one of the countries with the most impressive ongoing recovery rate, according to the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI). As of mid-September, the number of confirmed cases in Thailand stands at 3,511, with 3,343 recoveries, 109 recuperating in hospital and 59 deaths. An impressive standing for a country of 70 million people.
No one knows exactly why Thailand has been so well spared. It can be credited to their decision to close down borders and take control of the situation early on. Or to the social distancing embedded in Thai culture — the habit of greeting each other with a wai — rather than a handshake or kiss which has seen runaway transmissions in other parts of the world. Thailand’s early adoption of face masks, combined with an impressive health care system, the outdoor lifestyle of many Thais, and their relatively low rates of pre-existing conditions have certainly helped.
Thailand will open again
With an estimated 40 million tourists visiting Thailand each year, 102 000 South Africans in 2019, it is time to Trust Tourism again. The new era of travel post Covid-19 will likely target upmarket travellers, and include the implementation of Digital Payments, Communications and Display of Information, Temperature Checks, Social Distancing, Less Buffet Stations and Paper Napkins – among others.
All travellers will be required to wear masks and follow strict disinfection policies. There will be less crowds and stricter back of house procedures, while the Thai Chana Mobile phone app will used to track people going in and out of premises, in order to monitor their infections.
Thailand’s proposed reopening plan
Phase One: Business travellers, investors, skilled workers, people with Thai family members, teachers.
Phase Two: Medical tourism travellers.
Phase Three: General tourists.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, made a statement on August 21st confirming the government’s plan to open Phuket for international tourism on October 1st. Reopening Phuket for international tourists will act as a pilot program for the rest of Thailand. There are many rules, including a mandatory 30 day stay, 14-day in hotel quarantine, and many PCR tests, but tourists will be able to enjoy hotel facilities and in some cases, the beach.
The Thailand Special Tourist Visa or STV, is designed mainly for those who want to make long stays. With a STV visa, tourists can stay in the country for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each time for a further 90 days. They will need to provide proof of long-term accommodation plans, such as paid accommodation or property ownership, medical tourists’ doctor appointments and medical insurance. This is an excellent option for those wanting to get back to Thailand soon.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn has appealed to all enthusiastic travellers to be patient, united, and confident in weathering the current crisis, which under a best-case scenario will almost certainly be over by 2021. He says that while nothing will be the same again, TAT is there to help the industry adapt to new challenges and to support, encourage, motivate and lead towards a more promising future. “I believe we have to come back stronger and overcome the COVID- 19 crisis together.”
Some of the reasons South Africans Love Thailand
- Safe and secure family friendly destination
- Natural Beauty, Tropical Islands, Warm Waters.
- Incredible array of attractions and activities
- Excellent value for money
- Hotels and services are of a very high standard
- Friendly people, Diversity, LGBT friendly
Read the Amazing Thailand South Africa blog for all the reasons that Thailand needs exploring.
About The Tourism Authority of Thailand: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (T.A.T.) was established in 1960 by the Royal Thai Government to be specifically responsible for tourism promotion. In 1965, T.A.T. opened its first overseas office in New York. Since then, T.A.T. has established 21 offices in different parts of the world.
Go Thai. Be Free: Did you know that Thailand is one of the world’s most friendly travel destinations for members of the LGBTQ+ community? Head to the Go Thai. Be Free. portal for more information.