Thailand’s hotel operators encourage tossing quarantine for vaccinated visitors

Employees in the hospitality sector urged to receive priority in vaccinations

Panoramic aerial view of Phi Phi Don island, Thailand. S-F/Shuttersock

According to the Financial Times, Thai hotel groups are pressing the federal government to toss quarantine rules for overseas tourists who have been jabbed with the COVID-19 vaccination, in hopes to kickstart the immobilised sector.

The Financial Times were informed by two main hotel groups of their support in scrapping the necessary 14-day quarantine for foreign guests who might show vaccination signs.

William Heinecke, chairman of Thailand’s largest listed hotel and hospitality group Minor International, said, “we should be very quickly allowing people who are safely vaccinated to travel without quarantine.”

“There are tremendous numbers of people who won’t come to Thailand or won’t come to any country that has a quarantine, because it takes too much time,” he added.

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Tourism is Thailand’s second-largest economic driver, but the country’s borders have been closed to most overseas guests since March 2020, along with the imposition of strict testing and quarantine rules.

“The current quarantine restrictions are crippling our industry and having a massive impact on Thailand’s economy,” said Suphajee Suthumpun, chief government of Dusit International, a Bangkok-listed hotel group. “With foreign tourists accounting for around 70 percent of the total industry, and with tourism representing around 22 percent of GDP, it’s clear that we need to open the borders to vaccinated travellers as soon as possible.”

Suthumpun mentioned that employees in Thailand’s hospitality sector must be given priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. “This would also protect locals and travellers alike, and limit the risk of infection,” she added.

The pandemic has left Thailand’s renowned destinations desolate, with subsidies for Thais’ quarantine stays making up merely half of the sector’s losses.