DestinationsThailand is still tepid on international tourists, but charter flights to Phuket from selected countries will take off in Q4.

Thailand slowly cracks open door to foreign tourists

Thai Airways will begin charter flights from six international destinations to Phuket from November.
Thai Airways will begin charter flights from six international destinations to Phuket from November. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bit by bit, Thailand is taking cautious steps to reopen the country's borders to international travellers, beginning with the Phuket as the country seeks to reboot its battered tourism sector.

Thai Airways International, in alignment with the Phuket destination bubble approach, has announced that it will soon relaunch international travel with direct charter flights to the Thai island from six international destinations, namely Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Each of these non-scheduled flights will be operated twice a month or more, depending on the passenger demand, according to Chansin Treenuchagron, acting president at Thai Airways. The carrier also expects to launch flights to Phuket from China around late November 2020.

In addition, Royal Orchid Holidays has prepared accommodations for tourists such as Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, which passed the alternative state quarantine evaluation by Thailand's Public Health and Defense Ministries. ROP members may redeem miles for award tickets in this campaign at the rate assigned by THAI.

Meanwhile, Thailand and Singapore are currently in talks to restart business travel between the two countries, according to an August 26 statement from Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Recognising that some sectors in Thailand have expressed their worries about foreign arrivals bringing new waves of Covid-19 outbreak, Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also stated that the return of tourists was essential for the country.

"If nothing is done, things will get worse. Premises will be shut down. Employees will be laid off. How can the government afford to help them all?" he was quoted as saying in a Bangkok Post report.

Amid increasingly desperate pleads from beleaguered tourism stakeholders to reopen the country to international arrivals, the Thai government has said that the return of foreign visitors will begin with only a limited number of arrivals to test the country's comprehensive disease control measures.

However, many in the industry have questioned the 14-day quarantine requirement for any foreign arrivals, as these Covid-19 rules are viewed as too restrictive to entice any significant tourist numbers to Thailand.

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