A recent news report in The Nation Thailand has quoted a travel official from the Tourism and Sports Ministry who reckons that five Thai holiday islands will reopen to foreign tourists in August. With the international travel ban lifted from international flights and the reopening of many bars and nightlife establishments, it makes sense that we should be planning the reopening of major tourism destinations across Thailand.
The Thai newspaper has claimed that their official source said that five islands across three provinces would reopen to tourists. The Thai holiday islands to open are in regions that include Krabi, Surat Thani and Phuket.
Thai Holiday Islands Reopening
The talked-about plan was to reopen major Thailand tourist destinations to foreign travellers by September or October. The Phuket Governor and tourist operators initially discussed the reopening plan in the region. Thailand has not had a death from Covid-19 for the past month, and with relatively few new cases, the ideas are being brought forward to August.
“Initially, we will open five islands – Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao,” said the travel official talking to The Nation. “We expect residents in these areas to agree to the move because Phuket relies on tourism revenue when you take into account the province’s gross domestic product.”
Limiting Tourist Numbers Visiting Thai Holiday Islands
The official did also go onto say that the criteria of allowing foreign visitors to enter Thailand and visiting these holiday islands are currently under discussion with the Public Health Ministry.
It only makes sense that each island and province will have different criteria, defined mainly by its size and ability to host tourists. The limit on foreign tourist numbers will be decided by each island’s capability to “effectively screen visitors for Covid-19”.
The travel official also went onto tell The Nation that, “We plan to allow tourists to board a plane to a specified destination. If they have to take a connecting flight via Bangkok, for example, travelling in Bangkok is prohibited.”
The news in regards to Thai holiday islands opening up their borders to foreign tourists seems a positive move in the right direction. However, some people on local forums such as the Thai Visa Forum have mixed opinions. One concerned resident of Phuket said, “I think it’s a bad idea to rush to open Phuket’s borders as the second wave of the virus could soon hit the world. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Other forum users quoted as saying, “This is great news because there are so many businesses related to tourism that are currently on the edge of bankruptcy, so the sooner we can resume to business as usual, the better.”
Schools and Nightlife Establishments Reopen
It would in many respects make sense if Thai holiday islands were to reopen next month as we have just seen the latest phase of openings from 1 July 2020. Bars, pubs, nightclubs, event venues and even schools opened from the start of this month, which is another step in the right direction.
Although the consensus is understandably mixed, the economy cannot afford to remain stagnant. It needs stimulating if Thailand is to make any recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. At this moment in time, there is not a right or wrong way to go about this. We are currently amidst a unique time in history, and nobody knows the right path to take towards recovery. It’s all guesswork.
Let’s hope the decision to open five Thai holiday islands in August is the right way. Thailand and its tourism industry are certainly hoping it’s the correct strategy.