Thailand, a popular South-East Asian country is planning to open its touristic spots for the sun-starved Europeans this winter and the country is making its efforts to save its tourism industry.

The country is planning to grant a visa for foreigners who want to stay in Thailand for up to 9 months said Boon Vanasin, chairman of Thonburi Healthcare Group Pcl. Although the country had closed its borders since March, this new rule might help to help the already ailing tourism industry.

Tourists whose visas are granted are required to mandatorily undergo 14-day quarantine and several COVID-19 tests in order to stay in popular beach location of Pattaya. After 3 weeks on the island and negative COVID test results will help them to explore other regions of the country.

The government has already approved the plan in principle, but it is finalizing the measures to reduce the risk of virus internally said a spokesperson.

The opening of tourism will help Thailand as tourism is one of the most important industries that contribute to country’s GDP and the country of Thailand has been hit hard with lockdown that there are no foreign tourists to the exotic beach locations of Thailand. A good piece of information is that there hasn’t been any case of internal transmission for over 3 months now.

This new plan will help millions of European nationals from Germany to Sweden who skip harsh winter months to the warmer Mediterranean regions of South-East Asian countries.  “Many seniors don’t want to spend their time in a cold harsh winter. They want tropical weather,” said Boon.

Last year, Thailand had more than 6.7 million Europeans visiting which contributed over $ 14.7 million for the economy and according to the government data, it made up to 17% of total foreign visitors and 24% of spending.

Also, the Thai government is trying to promote domestic tourism with promoting activities like footing 40% of travellers’ bills etc. However, the island of Phuket witnesses 2/3rds of overall tourists to Thailand.

“We’ll allow a small number of foreign visitors into the country first to test our system,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said on Wednesday. “We have to do something so that the situation doesn’t get worse with businesses closing down and people losing jobs.”

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