The Airlines Association of Thailand (AAT) hopes the government resumes the Test & Go scheme as soon as possible to support a tourism recovery.
Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of the AAT and Bangkok Airways, said the Test & Go scheme proved to be highly effective in attracting international arrivals. Airlines would like to see the scheme restarted, he said.
The scheme’s suspension has affected the flow of tourists as they have to choose between sandbox areas in Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga and Koh Samui, or quarantine entry via Bangkok.
Mr Puttipong said the country’s reopening certainly comes with risks, but the government has to make a risk assessment, such as resuming Test & Go based on the number of Covid cases and the severity of an outbreak.
He said if the Omicron variant can be treated similarly to the seasonal flu because of its weak impact on vaccinated people and lower fatality rate, it may reduce fear and encourage people to fly.
Airlines already use several health and safety procedures, said Mr Puttipong.
“If Omicron is not deadly, domestic flights will rebound shortly, but this is not adequate to support the industry,” he said. “Thai tourism needs the international market to reach full capacity.”
Regarding the 300-baht tourism fee that is expected to be included in airfares, Mr Puttipong said further discussion is needed with state agencies because aspects of the fee collection process need to be clarified.
credit BKK post