Thailand’s tourism and sports minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn admitted the obvious, that con ning tourists to their room 24/7 for 14 days was not going to inspire foreigners to come to Thailand.
But he thought that if foreign tourists were holed up in their resorts for two weeks they would be happy with that.
He will also eventually have to admit that he is wrong about this too.
And he also suggested that Phuket will be the guinea pig for the opening up to foreign tourists.
The minister’s comments come after widespread criticism from the foreign community to the Thais’ “seal and safe” plans.
Pipat was speaking to Manager in Chachoengsao where he presided over the opening of a new market attraction. He was on his way to the mobile cabinet meeting in Rayong yesterday.
In a brief interview he reaffirmed his plans to open up Thailand to foreigners post pandemic though with some caveats.
He said that PM Prayut Chan-ocha had told him to concentrate on Thai domestic tourism first and he urged Thais to take advantage of the promotions and stimulus packages.
Although recent reports suggest this has also failed, with Thais only applying for less than 20% of the 5 MILLION so called ‘special deals’ on offer.
He said he would be surveying the locals about their feelings of having foreigners in their midst once again.
The plan at present is to have 14 days quarantine in resorts before a further period of 7 days when Covid-19 tests would be carried out and tourists would be allowed to move around the province.
Only after that would they be permitted to travel freely to other provinces.
Then came his comments about foreigners not being happy with being cooped up in their room all day but happy to be allowed to wander round resorts.
Earlier reports suggested that this arrangement might attract 2 million foreigners by March – an idea roundly mocked and ridiculed by foreigners online.
Posters online suggested that few foreigners were likely to want to come to Thailand for a long quarantine period, have further restrictions on their travel then perhaps go home to face more quarantine.
Few would even have the time for that. Some who were able to have long holidays might agree but their numbers would be limited, netizens said. Many said that the plans were a “pipe dream” and the Thais were kidding themselves if they thought 2 million would accept such draconian restrictions.