Poll shows majority of Thais oppose lifting tourist ban
A majority of Thais do not agree with a government plan to reopen Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists, a survey showed, as the nation prepared to receive its first group of visitors in almost seven months.
About 57 per cent of respondents were concerned that the reopening would increase the risks of coronavirus infections and disagreed with the plan, according to the poll conducted by the Bangkok-based National Institute of Development Administration.
The survey of about 1,300 people also found that 62 per cent were not confident that the government can avoid a re-emergence of Covid-19 once the country reopens to holidaymakers.
Last week, the tourism-reliant nation unveiled plans to admit a limited number of foreign tourists each month to provide some relief to the tourism industry, which is struggling to survive without international visitors.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government is seeking a balance between rescuing its tourism sector, which derives two-thirds of its revenue from foreign visitors, and maintaining its good track record of managing the virus.
Thailand’s reopening plan has faced several delays, partly due to the concerns of some local groups.
But the government has pushed ahead with the plan to receive visitors with a 14-day mandatory quarantine, although tourism businesses said the requirement would exclude most travellers hoping to visit the country.
Even the supporters of a government plan to issue long-term visas to foreigners said there must be effective measures in place to prevent spread of the virus.
The random survey was conducted last Thursday and Friday, and has a confidence level of 97 per cent, the institute said.