Thailand’s tourism industry is again facing serious difficulties due to the impact of entry restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant, although the local COVID-19 situation is basically under control and vaccination progress is accelerating.
Official data indicate that since November, more than 350,000 vaccinated travelers have entered Thailand under the quarantine-free entry mechanism or Test & Go, which was suspended last week following the detection of the first case of the Omicron variant.
According to Pilomrat Isvarphornchai, a representative of the Association of Travel Agents of Thailand (ATTA), in fact, the number of tourists did not increase significantly after the November reopening.
About 50 percent of ATTA member tour operators have closed.
According to the president of the Thailand Hotel Association (THA), Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, the suspension of the quarantine-free entry program has led to a sharp drop in flight and hotel bookings over the next few months.
Thailand has so far recorded more than 1000 cases of Omicron, of which a high number are in a cluster in Kalasin province.
This cluster originated from a tourist couple from Belgium who arrived via Test & Go.
Bangkok currently has the highest number of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Tuk tuk driver sleeping inside his vehicle. Photo: Wolk9 (Pixabay).