According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai government is considering the easing of entry restrictions for foreign visitors possibly as early as next month (third quarter) or final quarter of this year for those arriving from coronavirus-free areas, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
The relaxing of inbound travel restrictions would be the first step to kick-start the tourism industry, but the government has to be diligent in screening travelers and implementing an efficient tracking system to reduce the risk of a second wave of infections.
The Deputy Prime Minister said visitors from countries or areas where Covid-19 outbreaks have been contained are likely to be the first to get the green light and that he has already raised the issue with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“It doesn’t have to be an entire country — we can allow visitors from towns or provinces which are free from the corona-virus. Travel restrictions will be gradually eased and foreign visitors are expected to return in the third or fourth quarter of this year,” he said.
“Stimulating local spending and tourism are vital to kickstarting the economic recovery, especially considering the sluggish imports at the moment,” said Mr Somkid
The local tourism has pick-up after the third phase of lock-down easing, but a fresh package is needed to lure more people to travel and spend and maintain the recovery’s momentum.
“We hope the package will keep the momentum all the way to early next year and we expect the import sector to bounce back next year. But if it doesn’t, the Finance Ministry will have to figure out how to help the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said that the enforcement of the emergency decree, which is set to expire on June 30, could be extended as laws are needed to battle a second round of the outbreak if indeed happen. Emergency decree enables swift action and coordination.